Euro Foie Gras: New York City ban on foie gras based on misconceptions and demagoguery

Brussels, 31 October 2019 – The European Federation of Foie Gras – Euro Foie Gras – deplores the ban on the sale of foie gras voted on Wednesday, 30th of October by the New York City Council. This law will affect from 2022 onwards all stores and restaurants in New York City that sell foie gras.
This measure is totally unjustified: foie gras originates from healthy waterfowl, which spend 90% of their life outdoors before the fattening phase which lasts between 10 and 14 days, with two meals per day. Contrary to the allegations of the anti-foie gras lobby, foie gras production respects animal welfare. Migratory birds naturally stock fat in their livers and the fattening of geese and ducks is a mere reproduction of this natural, non-pathological, and totally reversible physiological ability. Indeed, offering quality living conditions to their animals is a daily concern for any waterfowl farmer. This is essential for the animals and a prerequisite to obtain a quality product. The compatibility of the fattening phase with animal welfare has been proven by scientific studies.[1] This reality is constantly ignored by those who misinform the general public by leading them into an anthropomorphic perception of the animal who, although sentient, remains nonetheless different from a human being.

This ban is also a restriction of freedom for passionate cooks and consumers in New York and it poses an existential threat to local duck farms, who employ hundreds of workers in the State of New York. Before the vote, not a single member of the City Council has accepted the invitation from foie gras producers to visit a foie gras farm, so as to find out by themselves the reality of the production. Due to this lack of contact with the true situation on the ground, the decided ban was clearly based on misconceptions and slogans, rather than on facts. This is clearly shown by the sloppy definition of the term “force-feeding” in the prohibition text.

For Christophe Barrailh, President of Euro Foie Gras, “it is scandalous that the marketing of this exceptional gastronomic and healthy product is prohibited, especially in the so-called country of the Free.”

Euro Foie Gras wishes to express its solidarity with New York’s foie gras producers, stores and restaurants facing this irrational decision. The Federation will continue to defend the right of consumers from Europe and across the Atlantic to enjoy foie gras in an era of continuous bashing of animal breeders and misinformation about their activities without taking into consideration their important contribution to food security, food safety and cultural heritage.

[1] Among others:

  • Z. Erisir & al. 2009, “Effect of different housing systems on growth and welfare of Pekin ducks”, Journal of Animal and Veterinary Advances 8(2).
  • MS Dawkins, 2012, “Commercial scale research and assessment of poultry welfare”, British Poultry
  • Science.E. Baeza, « La stéatose hépatique des palmipèdes », INRA Prod. Anim, 2013, 26 (5), 403-414.
  • W. Molee, « Facteurs de variation de la composition lipidique des membranes plasmiques des hépatocytes chez les palmipèdes : relation avec le rendement technologique des foies gras », S.E.V.A.B., 2006.
  • E Baéza & al., 2005, “Canards de Barbarie, Pékin et leurs hybrides: aptitude à l’engraissement”, INRA Productions.
  • P. Chartrin & al.,2004, « Effet du génotype et du gavage sur les dépôts de lipides intramusculaires dans le filet de canard », Viandes et Produits Carnés, Hors-série des 10e Journées des Sciences du Muscle et Technologies des Viandes.