New York bans foie gras on animal cruelty grounds

A boy looks at geese during a pet industry fair in Riga, Latvia.
A boy looks at geese during a pet industry fair in Riga, Latvia.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

NEW YORK (AFP) - New York can stake a claim to being the culinary capital of the world, but one famous dish is about to be taken off the menu: foie gras.

The city council voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday (Oct 30) to ban the sale of the French delicacy from 2022.

Lawmakers ruled that it is cruel to force-feed ducks and geese to fatten their livers for human consumption.

Animal rights activists long supported the move, but foie gras farmers and fine-dining restaurants are likely to cry foul.

The law is set to go into effect in October 2022 and prohibits any establishment from selling, serving or even possessing foie gras.

Offenders will be fined anywhere between US$500 (S$680) and US$2,000 for each offence.

The motion was passed by 42 votes to six.

It comes after the US Supreme Court upheld a similar ban in California in January, ending a 15-year legal battle.

The New York ban is expected to hit the state's two major producers, Hudson Valley Foie Gras and La Belle Farms.

Foie gras farmers claim that force-feeding is not cruel and that activists have exaggerated the suffering that the animals are subjected to.

The industry is exploring alternative ways of replicating foie gras that does not involve force-feeding.