NEW YORK - The New York City Council has voted to ban the sale of foie gras — the fattened liver of a duck — served in fine restaurants and gourmet groceries across the city.
Council members passed the bill on Wednesday. They say producing the traditional French delicacy involves animal cruelty by force-feeding a bird through a tube pushed down its throat. Selling foie gras in New York will be illegal starting in 2022.
A ban could mean trouble for two farms outside the city that are premier U.S. producers of foie gras, with New York as their prime market — Hudson Valley Foie Gras and nearby La Belle Farm. Together, they raise about 350,000 birds for foie gras a year. The owners say they may have to close, with hundreds of mostly immigrant workers losing their jobs.
In the end, the measure imposes a fine of up to $2,000, instead of the previously considered $1,000. A penalty of up to one year behind bars has been eliminated.
The bill would impose a $1,000 fine and up to one year behind bars on any restaurateur or grocery store owner who sells foie gras.
California banned the delicacy in 2012. It was challenged in federal court, but a federal appeals court eventually upheld the ban. Chicago banned foie gras in 2006, but the ordinance was repealed two years later.
Other animal-friendly bills are also expected to be approved at Wednesday's meeting, including a bill prohibiting carriage horses from working in temperatures above 90 degrees and a ban on the sale, capture or possession of pigeons.