Upstate farmers are turning to foie gras after NYS agency rules on NYC ban

A state agency has scuppered plans to ban foie gras in New York City by ruling in favor of farmers in the state – saying their economic rights override animal welfare concerns.

“Denying these agricultural establishments access to sell their produce in the New York City market is against the law [state law] and threatens farm viability,” the state Department of Agriculture and Markets told Mayor Eric Adams and a city attorney in a Dec. 14 letter.

New York City lacks “police powers” to ban the sale of farm products like foie gras if they do not endanger the “health, safety or welfare of its citizens” despite a law passed by the city council in 2019, the letter said.

The ban is now off the table for the time being after its planned implementation was quashed in November following a court challenge by Hudson Valley Foie Gras and La Belle Farms in Sullivan County, which produce the lion’s share of the controversial broiler duck and foie gras product in the Empire State.

Lots of ducks
Ducks crammed together on a foie gras farm. The New York City Council approved a ban on foie gras in 2019.
AFP via Getty Images

A spokesman for the city’s legal department said the “city is reviewing the state’s letter and determining next steps” as it decides whether or not to appeal the department’s decision, which becomes final if it doesn’t go for 30 days is challenged.

Proponents of the ban have argued that making foie gras exposes ducks and geese to unnecessary suffering in order to make tasty foie gras.

But opponents of a ban say the luxury product is a crucial lifeline for the Catskills economy — not to mention high-end Big Apple restaurants, particularly French ones.

The foie gras ban is now off the table.
The foie gras ban is now off the table.
AFP via Getty Images

“The duck farming industry plays an important role in our community. Hundreds of families and affiliated businesses rely on the industry for success. NYC’s ban is over and I’m glad it’s being reversed. tweeted Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, who was elected in November to represent the area in Congress. Upstate farmers are turning to foie gras after NYS agency rules on NYC ban


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