A fateful date approaches. The New York City Council will vote on the ban on foie gras on Wednesday, October 30 in a plenary session, after a first vote on the text by the health committee scheduled for the morning before. The session promises to be lively. Voters for Animal Rights, a group that supports the ban, has invited its supporters to gather on Wednesday to “give ducks and geese a voice at City Hall.”
The bill, led by the democratic representative from southern Manhattan Carlina Rivera, aims to “ban the sale or provision of certain force-fed poultry products.” Supporters of this bill and animal rights groups point to the inhumane treatment of geese, which are force-fed to allow the liver to expand during the production process.
It’s an argument that Ariane Daguin, the French head of D’Artagnan Foods, disagrees with. “Geese naturally stuff themselves in the wild before migration, all we do is reproduce a natural process with a funnel in the insensitive esophagus of the animals.”
For the foie gras producer in New York, the possible “foie gras ban” is a political decision. “During the first health commission meeting on June 18, some city councillors wore “ban foie gras” t-shirts, they almost didn’t let us talk. They understood that they would have more power if they sided with vegetarians.”
This is not the first time the debate has broken out in New York. In 2008, an elected city official asked the State Senate to legislate a ban on the practice of force-feeding geese and ducks. This current bill comes just a few months after the ban on foie gras in California, which forced the only producing farm to close down. Ariane Daguin is concerned that the same will happen in New York. “There are only two farms here, Hudson Valley Foie Gras and La Belle, which employ over 400 people and provide foie gras to over 1000 restaurants. Their situation is very serious.”
The head of D’Artagnan, whose business will also suffer from the foie gras ban, invites New York restaurateurs and citizens to speak up by Wednesday by writing an e-mail to city councillors. Carlina Rivera’s office did not respond to our [French Morning’s] request for an interview.
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