Fie on foie gras! Rivera calls for pâté ban

BY ALEJANDRA O’CONNELL-DOMENECH | Councilmember Carlina Rivera has introduced a bill that would make foie gras illegal in New York City.

“In the New York City Council, we aim to pass commonsense legislation every day,” Rivera said in a statement. “I can think of nothing more commonsense than ending the egregious practice of selling a luxury food item made from the gruesome abuse of animals.”

Foie gras is made from fattened goose or duck livers produced by force-feeding the birds corn via a long metal tube down their throats. Humans have engaged in the practice, known as gavage, for centuries. Ancient Egyptians are credited with being among the first do it, cramming a surplus of food down the throats of geese, ducks, cranes, cows and even hyenas with the intention of harvesting their fatty livers.

A wallet-forcing foie gras sandwich at Le Petit Parisien, which goes for more than $30.

Animal-rights activists have long railed against the inhumane treatment these birds endure to create the luxury food item.

In 2009, the Animal Protection and Rescue League held a protest at the East Village restaurant Momofuku, calling on it and all other restaurants to stop serving foie gras.

According to reporting from Gothamist, David Chang, owner of Momofuku Noodle Bar, at 171 First Ave., among other restaurants, viewed the anti-foie gras movement as “highly misguided.” Chang stated that the ducks on the Hudson Valley farm where he got his foie gras from “live a good life, free of cages and with plenty of area to roam.”

“It is hypocritical,” Sakis Pitsionas, owner of Le Petit Parisien, at 32 E. Seventh St., told this paper. According to the restaurateur, chickens, pigs and cows, which humans eat on a much larger scale, are treated just as poorly in this country as the force-fed geese are. Yet there have been no bans proposed on consuming them.

“I find this very authoritarian,” Pitsionas said, adding, “Let’s see in a few years what is going to be available to eat.”

8 Responses to Fie on foie gras! Rivera calls for pâté ban

  1. It’s just a matter of time before the animal extremists try to ban all animal consumption.

    • It makes less and less sense, in this shrinking, dying world, to eat animals when all the nutrients needed to sustain life—yes, even vitamin B12—can be gotten from plants. Foie gras production just takes the cruelty of factory farming to a whole new level.

      I read David Chang's comments about the pastoral life the ducks supposedly lead with puzzlement; the ducks have "plenty of room to roam" while they're confined to a cubicle with a pipe rammed down their throats? The pipe alone can cause injury, and that increases the suffering until the animal is ultimately killed.

      And the last comment from Sakis Pitsionas—"Let’s see in a few years what is going to be available to eat.”—well, let's see: foie gras isn't at all sustainable, so that's probably out. At this point, the truly progressive chefs are the ones experimenting with insects: mealworms, grubs, even roaches. I kid you not:

    • Charles, you say that like it would be a BAD thing,

  2. Chicago banned foie gras sales a while ago. From the Chicago Tribune: Mayor Richard M. Daley called the ban "the silliest law that they've ever passed." Chicago wasn’t a foie gras-free zone for long: The ordinance was repealed in May 2008.

    The only ban on foie gras sales in the world is California which is still contested in the courts, with a new filing in federal court on February 5th, contrary to recent reports. Back in 2004, the California Department of Food and Agriculture begged Gov S not to sign the bill as "foie gras farming does not involve cruelty". The California farmer, being sued out of existence, was granted immunity from lawsuits and allowed to keep working for seven years and asked the Governator to sign the bill.

    This always gets a lot of press, now for Carlina Rivera, whom no one ever heard of. NYClass lost out on the horse carriage ban and needs some return on their investment. A tangled web.

    Who has more votes for Speaker Corey Johnson, mayoral hopeful? The NY Class crowd (well, there is the money) or the top of the world culinary community of New York?

    The truth is two hours away in Sullivan County. Foie gras farming, as seen by thousands of chefs and members of the NYC culinary community over the past 35 years, who have the integrity to visit the farms before they put foie gras on their menus, is responsible animal agriculture. Local, state and federal officials have been inspecting foie gras farming in the US, mostly in upstate New York, for 35 years. New York has strict animal welfare laws.

    Not that truth should get in the way of politics.

    If you have been to a foie gras farm, speak up. You can find your representative here:

    Save the foie!

  3. Too many unnecessary laws. If you do not like it do not eat it.

  4. The opening quote should close after the phrase "legislation every day"… Just saying.

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