A Luxury Dish Is Banned, and a Rural County Reels

The ban protects animals and slaps wealthy gourmands. But upstate, hundreds of low-wage immigrant laborers are bracing for the impact.

Comments: 216

  1. Of all the things we do to animals, the extinction of entire species being just one example, force-feeding domesticated waterfowl seems one of the least bad. There are a few moves the industry could make, such as housing the birds in groups and not using a steel pipe in gavage, that would make the whole process more humane, but I would think there are other areas that are more worthy of attention. I've eaten foie gras a few times and it's a magnificent food. The individuals interviewed for this article are about to suffer greatly. It's stunning that not a single one of the 51 council members could bring themselves to make a fact-finding trip to one of these farms.

  2. @PDXBruce I've seen this defeatist mindset among proponents of foie gras production throughout this comments section which I feel is misguided. We can advocate for more than one cause, big or small, and push our elected officials to do the same. Any industry that relies on the abuse of animals, including force-feeding, is worthy of attention. There is immeasurable suffering endured by the billions of animals killed for our food, and the foie gras industry is just one glaring example of that. As the sole beneficiaries of their death, it is our moral obligation to, at the very least, give some consideration to the quality of their living moments. Also, the workers interviewed for this article are not about to suffer greatly--they have suffered greatly. Work 6AM to 1AM is inhumane. The free housing does not make up for the lackluster pay and often dehumanizing work they must do; I would speculate the free housing is a way to keep workers "on call" while being able to claim this housing as tax-deductibles. Given that foie gras bans have been happening over the past couple decades, this is hardly a surprise for employers, especially for larger operations.

  3. @PDXBruce "Of all the things we do to animals .... force-feeding domesticated waterfowl seems one of the least bad." It's not just the force-feeding, which is certainly very unpleasant. Imagine how you'd feel if your liver was 10 times its normal size, each cell crammed with fat droplets it could not handle.

  4. "The two-year grace period before the ban takes effect, she has said, gives the farms time to adjust." What a joke. Adjust to what? Living on welfare? AI causes unemployment as does animal rights. I am for both these things. What I am against is upending people's livelihoods without giving them any options. New York should be paying these people to get some sort of retraining in another profession.

  5. The cost is a red herring justifying a law that should not have been passed. Twenty-eight dollars is not that much. Though not something most people would dine on regularly, foie gras is an affordable luxury that anyone could enjoy once twice in their lives, one that I'm sure de Blasio has enjoyed himself and, through his ability to travel, will eat many times in the future.

  6. "Twenty eight dollars is not that much..." Your disconnect from the economic reality of millions of others in the United States is truly spectacular.

  7. This ban is just another major over reach by NY government. Add it to the cash bail fiasco and Regulation 187 (which most of you have no idea about but it’s the most ambiguous ‘suitability’ law in the nation and will cause life insurance sales in NY to plummet thus leaving thousands of citizens without needed coverage). Of course there’s also the Paid Family Leave law that perhaps 1 in 86 people will ever use but it has quadrupled DBL costs for business owners throughout the State. There is now a 6 billion (with a B) State deficit because so many people with money have fled NY to warmer, friendlier financial climates like Florida (Carl Icahn for example). Yes, the liberal progressives in power in Albany are driving the State into the ground.

  8. @Mike L You are spot on, Mike L. Couldn't agree more. I am one of those who fled to Miami. While every city and state have their issues, at least here I have a generous Homestead Exemption, no state income tax, lower utility costs, and ALL crimes continue to be prosecuted. More importantly, I'm not left with the feeling that the socialists are coming for me to stick their hands in my pocket to take everything I've worked and saved for my entire life. No regrets.

  9. @Mike L And yet New York maintains the third highest per capita GDP in the country. Here in Idaho, where our governor touts us as one of the least regulated states during his visit with Trump recently, per capita GDP in second lowest in the country and went down from a year ago.

  10. Here’s a compromise, Mike. We’ll keep Foie Gras legal, but you can only eat it from a tube shoved down your throat. Sound good?

  11. From every indication in this story, foie gras eaters are not paying enough for their fattened livers. $28 is not much to keep whole communities in subservience! But this is truly just a postcard of everything that's wrong with industrial farming and food production, concentration of wealth, destabiliized, transient labor, dependent local governments and communities. At least China's birth rate is the lowest in 6 decades. Small favors.

  12. There is a time honored tradition of the leaders of brutal, oppressive, or inhumane business practices, who often intentionally exploit the least economically mobile and most vulnerable, and then *further* exploit these peoples' stories as a way to justify practices that should have never been allowed in the first place. Think about the jobs! USA's global imperialist operations employ thousands of folks, including underprivileged farm boys from dying industry towns, for whom the military offered the only bus ticket out of town. That's sad, but it in no way diminishes the primary moral imperative that we reign in our expensive, useless, homicidal, counter-productive jingoism around the world. I agree with the folks pointing out that our moralism pertaining to animals and food industry has been applied in extremely selective ways, while we've turned a blind eye to other horrors of the business. Even so, that doesn't negate the purpose of incremental reforms like this. Otherwise, there is no way to start on a righteous path.

  13. You lost me at “USA’s globalist imperialist operations... .”

  14. @T - He's referring to the Perpetual War for Fun and Profit that we've practiced virtually from the day of our founding - See; Chickenhawk George's random invasions of small, weak ME nations that had done us no harm. The result was Big Bucks for the MIC and it's coupon-clipping investors at the cost of thousands of American lives, uncounted numbers of dead/maimed, "collaterally damaged" Iraqis, the destruction of Iraq's infrastructure and the draining of trillions of dollars from our country's piggy bank.

  15. . . . sells about $28 million of foie gras per year, and a third of it ends up in New York City. The other farm, LaBelle, sells about $10 million a year, . . . " sales do not equal profit but it would be interesting to know what profit the owners make as contrasted to the wages they pay people lose jobs, by jobs going overseas, by jobs being transferred to machines vs. man, for other reasons job loss is not always enough to argue against laws and regulations

  16. "A foie gras ban... and slaps wealthy gourmands" John Leland since when is it a requirement to be "wealthy" to enjoy good food? Do we categorize lovers of classical music who go to the Met wealthy? Is someone who has saved for many years to buy an expensive car of their dreams now also stamped as being wealthy? Foie gras is not a luxury dish. It's a scarce commodity that some people, like yours sincerely, really enjoy and am at times willing to pay for.

  17. @Steen You can get a ticket to the Met for $25. How much does foie gras cost?

  18. @Steen With al the wonderful food available for consumption, you are moaning about the loss of being able to consume a diseased liver from a cruelly treated sentient creature. Sad.

  19. @David Weintraub Amusingly, as noted in the article, you can eat foie gras for $28.

  20. I'm happy about the foie gras ban. It's an unnecessary and cruel practice. When times change, industries have to follow suit. And I'm tired of industries, like farms, getting free subsidies (like $10K of feed) and then complaining about government and voting for Trump. If we are going to have cut-throat capitalism it should be the same for everyone: turn a profit or shut down. If your company isn't profitable without handouts, you need to find a new line of work. According to the article the industry puts $300K into the county school system but I'll bet there is way more than $300K in subsidies going to the county. Put that money directly to the school system instead.

  21. I think the Foie Gras ban is an attempt by politicians who refuse to do anything about massive tax abatements for billionaires or crumbling schools, among other things, to try and grab some faux progressive cred.

  22. Quel carnard, and it brings to mind the French newspaper, Le Canard Enchaine (The Shackled Duck) which continues to roll off the presses in Paris. Duck is popular in certain American households, and you will find it most likely on a menu, not only in cities, but in eating establishments in rural regions. Foie gras, and mousse de carnard is a luxury in France, rich to the palate, leading to a case of indigestion if not eaten in moderation. What is the difference between a chicken and a duck? There are pressed ducks in Chinatown in New York City, and rotisserie chickens are spreading across the country. An Elder in the Hudson Valley tells this visitor that 40%, or more of privately-owned farms have closed these last few years. There should be 'no lifting' of the ban on foie gras, and without abusing animal rights, there is an ongoing need for eggs, cheese, confit de canard for the epicureans in our midst, while low-wage immigrant laborers are bracing for malnutrition, and other ills, living on a diet of candy and soda at the convenience stores. This is not ducky, but serious, and it's time to find viable solutions, without goosing the industrious workers who provide the demanding population with products they take for granted, while the laborers live in houses with cardboard panes, to keep insulated with their children from an increasingly cold frigid world.

  23. @Miss Ley Just so you know. “Canard” is a slang term for newspaper in French, and the name of that newspaper has absolutely nothing to do with real ducks.

  24. @Kevin , Thank you for this added clarification, and Le Canard enchaine has been the cause of many ragots and ill-measured cartoons since its first publication release long ago.

  25. Why isn't the city council banning beef, chicken and pork sales, all of which result in much more animal cruelty and environmental destruction?

  26. If folks think "force fed" is a horror, perhaps they should consider how the meat industry continues to produce. Shall I say, "force bred"? Either one has a system of meat production that is as respectful and aware of the animal as possible or one has a system that simply puts production and profit over everything. There is no choice of "no meat", as much as some folks might hope for it. So, let's go for respect and honor for those animals that feed us. Buy local. Know your farmers, your meat purveyors. Demand they be respectful in their work. And then pay the price you must to have such dedicated and respectful folks doing a hard job....for you. That or grow your own and be peaceful in your own little world. Most of us (you) can't do it. Just saying...

  27. @DKM Seems the greatest respect would be to not exploit and commodify the life of another creature and then kill it

  28. I have been acquainted with the employees of Hudson Valley Foie Gras Farm in Bethel for close to 40 years. I know them to be hard working, tax paying families, and productive members of the Town of Bethel & Sullivan County. I have had the opportunity to tour the farm on numerous occasions unannounced, and have never seen any cruelty to the ducks. The employees are also well trained in proper animal handling. The closing of these farms will be devastating to the employees, their families, and the community at large. I do not eat foie gras, and you don't have to either. But don't jeopardize the livelihood of this community. The legislatures should not enact this ban, especially without seeing firsthand for themselves how the farm operates.

  29. @Ira Liberman you are the problem - ducks are not food or sources therein.

  30. @ScottB Ducks are indeed a source of meat.

  31. Recently read about farms in France where ducks forage on a range of organic plants, not force fed. Let's try that.

  32. @TBB Go ahead. Try it out. Or don't eat foie gras. Your choice.

  33. I've witnessed "gavage" (force-feeding) of ducks and geese and can say that the animals don't seem disturbed by it (at least if done properly). They made no effort to avoid the farmer doing it and they simply walked away afterwards. Of course, if conditions were different they could have been harmed. The devil is in the details, as always. It's clear eating cirrhotic duck liver isn't for everyone, for various reasons, cost being only one of them, but given how farm animals are treated in general this isn't any worse. Ever see- or smell- a pork farm? How about a chicken farm?. I daresay there'd be a revolution if ALL meat was banned. Not that that would be a bad thing for people's health or the planet, but it's just not going to happen. So it's not reasonable to ban production of foie gras to soothe the conscious of people who think they're "saving" these ducks. Sorry, but they're no worse off than the rest of the animals raised for meat that the vast majority of us are quite ready to eat on a daily basis.

  34. @LenR. Well banning all meat would be bad. According to recent studies vegan brains are smaller than meat eaters.

  35. @Ryan Bingham Let's see your evidence.

  36. @LenR. There are certainly tremendous issues in our food system, from worker exploitation to deplorable animal welfare standards, but that is not an excuse to avoid addressing problems in smaller sectors in the system. The cruelty of this practice has been highlighted for decades, both through journal publications and among the scientific community. What's more, this foie gras ban is hardly a surprise seeing as how select companies, cities, and countries have been doing so for over 20 years. At this point, I wouldn't agree that foie gras ban is simply soothing the social conscious, but is instead coming from a greater awareness of the quality and standards of agribusiness, as well as its long-term sustainability. This ban coincides with today's expanding movement away from animal products (especially dairy and red meat), which is further evidenced by the intense lobbying by dairy/meat businesses and corporation for ag-gag laws.

  37. I'm not sure force-feeding ducks is more inhumane than asking humans to work repetitive-task jobs for $11/hr.

  38. @PeteG Allow yourself to be force fed and then you’ll have an answer

  39. @PeteG The humans have a choice.

  40. And what about that $375 Porterhouse steak? Does that come from farms just a couple hours away? Is that happy cow, grass fed, pasture-raised at a family farm? I'm always sad when I hear about small towns drying up - the loss of whole families and histories should sadden anyone. Situations like this certainly speak to the need for diversifying the family farm business. And shame on the legislators who did not actually go and tour the town and facilities.

  41. I have only heard how cruel the entire process of obtaining fois gras is. When I hear others trying to claim it's not inhumane all I can think is they are trying to paint a rosy picture, much as factory farming wants opacity in how they treat animals. Pointing out that factory farming is cruel and inhumane does not make fois gras any more appealing. I'm surprised by all these comments that indicate people are ok with this.

  42. Why is it that so often the "luxury" prices of certain goods really devolve into the reality of low wages for some poor disadvantaged minority group. Even forgetting the poor ducks, this is a prime example of the inequality of economic opportunity among our fellow citizens. We forget them at our peril. Let us all hope that the talented daughter makes it out of this Hobsons choice.

  43. NYC apparently has $500 million to forgive loans voluntarily taken out to buy a taxi medallion, at the same time it is going out of its way to destroy the all ready difficult lives of people 90 miles away.

  44. @Mike Yes, the loan forgiveness was ridiculous. If the lenders did something wrong, they should be squeezed. If not, everyone else should not be writing that check.

  45. @Mike L, The foie grass ban is a NYC only law, not NY State.

  46. A typical government solution. Interfere with a market, destroy jobs. Why should the government chose to interfere with the consumers choice of food?

  47. @Chris So I suppose you don’t approve of the government inspections to ensure that your fruits, vegetables, and meats are free of dangerous, potentially life-threatening bacteria. Sorry, but your freedom to eat what or where you want does not trump my right to eat clean food in a filth-free restaurant.

  48. You know what? Sometimes the right thing to do isn't necessarily in the 'best'interest' of the human beings involved. Not only human lives are valuable, and other creatures that are at our so-called mercy deserve to be treated with kindness and dignity. As for the people who think these birds are well-treated, I suggest they try being force-fed with a tube shoved down their throats 3 times a day for three weeks. Only humans would come up with something so repulsive and vicious for the purposes of their own gluttonous enjoyment.

  49. We will continue to enjoy it here in Washington state, thank you.

  50. So then, shall we repeal laws that punish meth cookers and heroin dealers because many people depend on those markets for their livings? In the past, French producers used to nail their ducks' feet to the floor and include some ground glass in the "food" forced into their guts, believing that the irritation further enhanced the overgrowth of the diseased livers prized by epicures.

  51. It is shameful that the Council members ruined people's lives just so they can feel better about themselves. The fact that that couldn't be bothered to even check the conditions but relied on statements by groups that have promoted falsities is appalling.

  52. Why is anyone more concerned about the rights of ducks than the survival of struggling humans in an economic wasteland?

  53. @Sylvia Calabrese Because the humans have a choice.

  54. Eating Foie Grois as well as wearing fur is unethical, by any reasonable standard. So the city council finally did something right. All the New Yorkers shedding crocodile tears for immigrants are the same wealthy New Yorkers that are content to exploit immigrants for whatever they see fit, whether as nannies or Lyft drivers or whatever while paying them below the federal minimum wage. They don't care about workers, they care about the maintenance of their decadent, immoral lifestyles. $28 for an appetizer? $375 for a steak? These are the one percent crushing the rest of the country - any pain they claim to feel is the liberation of others - human or animal. Undoubtedly, the workers will find new underpaid work for farmers that bemoan how they barely make it.

  55. I was feeling for those families and that community until I go to the photo of a Red Sox fan shoving a tube down a duck's mouth. Doing that to an animal for the last three weeks of their lives? I hope the workers find other jobs and I'm sure they will feel better about themselves when the do. I hope the community finds another means of supporting education and proving for addict recovery but I'm not the American Veterinary Medical Association. I cannot take a neutral position on that despicable act. After seeing that image, I recalled the only time I sampled foie gras. It was wonderful but I'll never taste it again.

  56. Their whole premise is that they have an economy built on the torture of animals and therefore it should be allowed.

  57. We humans are so entitled. Entitled to think we should be able to smack our lips on the tortured remains of some animal. Entitled to think we should always have that job of raising that tortured animal. No, I'm not a vegan, but we should be looking at more sustainable practices for our food.

  58. @BambooBlue It's not even an *important* protein source- chicken or beef is an affordable way for people to survive. No one needs foie gras- it's an unhealthy luxury. These birds are suffering for our enjoyment. I've never even seen foie gras on a menu out here in PA- it's not that important a food, you can live without it.

  59. Virtue signalling over all! In France the geese line up for 'force-feeding'. And I suspect that the comment below about DeBlasio, Prince among men, having eaten it and continuing to eat it is correct.

  60. @Jonathan See my comment about learned helplessness.

  61. The ban was nonsense. It's farmed animal. It's a French culture. It's great for farmers and foie gras taste delicious. NYC council should unban this. It's bad for restaurant industry and tourism too.

  62. @Asian man I’m not sure how restaurants serving $375 steaks would be hurt if they quit offering foie gras.

  63. @Asian man Slavery used to consist of owned, sold, and farmed humans. Slavery was also a part of culture. People also worried about the ban being bad for industry. Was the end of it nonsense?

  64. I'm always glad to hear that any operation that is abusive to animals fails. I hope I live long enough to see all operations including dairy, egg, fish, porcine, beef and all the rest shut down and the owners go broke.

  65. @john michel Moi aussi! Thank you!!

  66. Foie gras is disgusting. I don't care who eats it or who creates it. Time for it to pass into the past. Also, we didn't seem to mind when we banned coal mining in certain parts of the U.S., upending lives and whole communities, did we? Why should we suddenly become picky now? People will do what people do when they lose jobs and industries--find or create new ones. Everyone is doing it these days.

  67. gavage of ducks does not cause black lung disease. find a better anolagy.

  68. The whole point of luxury goods taxes and bans is to shift human productive potential away from service to the rich toward service to the common good. There's work to be done for the many; we shouldn't waste human productive potential in service to the unneeding few.

  69. How do the 99.99999% of communities and farms that do not produce foie gras manage to survive. Maybe the reporter should have spent some time looking at that? Every time we want to change our world for the better, whether it means getting rid of coal and petrochemicals, poisonous chemicals and pesticides, flourocarbons etc. we have to hear about the lowly worker producing this garbage and how will he/she now survive. What next, a story on the poor immigrants from the Dominican Republic who only survive by training roosters for cock-fighting. Oh the suffering!

  70. @EME most of those 99.999999 of family and small (v. agribusiness) farming communities are NOT surviving either . . . .

  71. @EME the “99.99999” percent family farms are NOT surviving. They are being bought by Big Ag, who treat their millions of animals far worse than these little farms treat their ducks.

  72. Shut it down. Sick and tired of animal exploitation.

  73. @ricksgirl But the human exploitation here is okay?

  74. Did anyone else notice the $375 for a porterhouse steak? Is that actually possible, or a glaring error of the NYT? Is that for one person? What would one pay here for a bottle of wine? What would a dinner for 4, each with a starter and a steak, and say 2 bottles of wine, cost? Let's assume $500 for a bottle of wine, to match the other prices. The meal without a tip or desert comes to around $2600. Say $3000 with a tip. Does this restaurant fill tables? Are these typical New York prices?

  75. @Leon Joffe Yes, $375 is correct. The Porterhouse is listed on the menu as "for the table", it normally serves two. There are many nice options well under $500 on the wine list. My impression is the restaurant is doing well. These are FAR from typical New York prices. This is a special restaurant in a unique city. I am deep in flyover country and a 45 day, dry-aged Porterhouse is $77 at my local, luxury steak joint. You can cheap and well in NYC, but not here, obviously.

  76. What's with the Boston hat?

  77. This is a one sided article. These farms need to adapt. They have two whole years to find something less cruel to do. As do the workers. Clearly the firm hired by the farmers is doing its job by getting the NYT to write a piece completely ignoring the inherent cruelty involved in producing foie gras

  78. This is a disgustingly abusive treatment of a animal. A grace period? Did they have a grace period for other laws?

  79. @Paulie Unfortunately there was a one year grace period in Florida after we voted to end dog racing here. Absolutely ridiculous.

  80. Hey restaurateurs, move upstate!

  81. A classic “first world problem”

  82. @stevevelo Violence and exploitation unfortunately happen against human and non-human animals everywhere.

  83. With all the food needed in this country, can't these people who depend on this farm learn and adapt? The soil in this part of the country is just begging for sustainable, organic farming, and or any number of other things that support both land and people. The time of abusing animals for our pleasure should end.

  84. Sorry, but this article seems a bit contrived. Surely there are other ways to market duck products and still make a living. I enjoy duck meat in many dishes, but force-fed duck liver has never been a high priority of mine.

  85. The tyranny of New York City's liberal glitterati: duck farms far from the city will close down and farm workers will lose their jobs in order to give some very rich diners one less menu choice.

  86. When people say, there will be none to do these jobs, I refer them to this other NYT article. Apparently legal local workers were found at better salaries, improving local unemployment statistics. "After ICE Raids, a Reckoning in Mississippi’s Chicken Country A series of federal immigration raids swept up nearly 700 undocumented workers, creating opportunities — and some ethical concerns — for American-born residents." https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/28/us/mississippi-ice-raids-poultry-plants.html

  87. Too bad we have to terrorize vulnerable people in order to provide opportunities for the locals. I guess that's how the zero game works, dudnit?

  88. @Bonnie Huggins If doing something illegal causes you to be terrorised, who made the original choice please? Congress can address these laws pragmatically and copy those of countries hose laws function better than we do. (Look no further than Canada) Point system based immigration. work permits, temporary residence ... all the solutions are out there to be voted and enacted.

  89. Why, exactly, are ducks in need of "humane treatment?" They're ducks, right? Why, exactly, are farmers (humans) denied "humane treatment?" They're humans, right? Sorry. But for me, the "feelings" of ducks (which are being created and nurtured for the slaughter and eating) being more important than the livelihood of these folks is obscene.

  90. Find a way to make money that doesn’t actively involve torture and then I’ll support your livelihood.

  91. Maybe the workers can learn to write code? This way they can compete for jobs with the soon displaced coal miners. Progressives will have everyone writing code driving wages down given the glut of code writers. Progressives have such brilliant ideas. signed, foie gras lover

  92. Where one finds the brutalization and exploitation of animals one will often find the brutalization and exploitation of people. Framing this debate around the white salvation of brown migrants ignores and obscures the stakes, including the decades-long history of these farms' -- Hudson Valley and La Belle -- exploitation of a desperate work force in a desperate situation. Make no mistake, Hudson Valley and La Belle are not advocates for their workers, and they have a long lobbying history at the NYS level -- something which this article does not bother to explore -- to show for it. Please don't be confused: white people are not saving brown people through labor exploitation. Least among them, the shameful proprietors of Hudson Valley and La Belle farms in Sullivan County, and the distributors of their products. It's time to dismantle the myth that we cannot have a strong economy without the exploitation of animals -- human and non-human alike. We can do far better; banning foie gras is just a start.

  93. @Nick You make a great point. When I was learning about domestic violence as a young medical student, one thing they taught me that has always stuck in my head is if the (almost-always) wife/ girlfriend/ ex-wife/ female partner is being abused, it is also likely the children, elders, and handicapped members of the household might also be subject to the same.

  94. The city council picks and chooses what animal rights and cruelty they want to highlight I don’t see any city council members calling for a boycott of Puerto Rico even though the cruel sport of cock fighting is legal there. Oh no can’t take a stand on that might upset to many constituents best worry about ducks upstate. Who cares about those workers or town they can’t vote here plus NYC always looks down at rural New Yorkers. First ban fracking for the environment and deprive upstate with good paying jobs now attack the farming community. If you don’t like (I think it tastes gross) don’t eat it and if enough people find it cruel then the industry will die out on its own. This is yet another reason my fellow Democrats are losing the middle of the country. Stop tell everyone how to space and think you expect everyone to respect your way of life but do not respect others.

  95. In 2021, with a different and more humane President, the United States will take either major or modest steps to catch up with Norway and Denmark and other European countries where there's universal health care and a minimum wage. The issue isn't foie gras; it's income inequality. The author of this article seems to think it's just fine to have first worlders pay thousands for a restaurant meal while families in poverty suffer every day. It's not. Yes, force feeding ducks to fatten their livers is barbaric, but the real problem is that those of us with discretionary incomes, and especially those among us who make millions or billions, are getting away with murder, not of ducks, which will be slaughtered for food either way (and yes, I strongly disapprove of force feeding), but of human beings who have less than they should because too few have too much.

  96. So we should treat our poultry kiindly before we slaughter and eat it??

  97. In a word, yes.

  98. @tom Of course we should. And as long as we're reaching, we should show as much concern over the treatment of our incarcerated citizens as we show our caged chickens.

  99. @tom In a word, yes. Read the story of, or watch the well-depicted movie about Temple Grandin, played by Caire Danes, well-known autistic animal-rights researcher who wrote the book on human practices for beef slaughter, and why that process is better for the animals killed, the people who butcher them, the people who eat them, and the industries that buy the meat products/byproducts.

  100. The city council has no business banning foie gras sales. This is legislative overreach at its worst. Lifestyle-shaping is not an acceptable activity of government. (Ditto banning the sale of fur.) There’s absolutely no connection between the production of foie gras, and any existing problem that directly involves the city. Problems and issues that involve the city are the only things that the city council has any business becoming involved in. Banning production of foie gras in the city would be fine (although I doubt it has ever been produced within the borders of the city at any time in which the modern city council has been in existence). I’ve never had foie gras, don’t have any interest in it, mostly because of the treatment of the animals (although I’ve heard it’s good), and this is a personal choice I have made. In this context I would never seek to impose my personal beliefs on others. This is nothing more than local legislators (specifically Corey Johnson) trying to puff up their own records for future political ambitions. If some half-wit from Massachusetts wants to tell people how to live, he ought to head back there to do it.

  101. @Ben Chicago passed an ordinance like this once. Everyone just ignored it. Eventually it was repealed.

  102. @Ben "The city council has no business banning foie gras sales....overreach at its worst." Overreach for whom? The local farms producing this ghastly menu item don't seem to understand the pain and suffering endured by the voiceless animals. Which came first, the duck or the egg? This is a classic case of an industry that should cease, and, like coal, exists for pure profits that workers will never see enough compensation. Let's look to the future.

  103. @Ben Governments absolutely have the business of looking after the welfare of animals. Do you support repealing the bans on dog fighting?

  104. It’s unconscionable to torture animals just so they taste better. Hundreds, maybe thousands of people lose their jobs every day because of changing markets. Think of the coal industry. Should we pollute our lungs by burning coal to save jobs in the coal industry? Should we pollute our morals by needlessly abusing animals?

  105. From this article, it looks to me like producing foie gras is inhuman to both the animals and the workers.

  106. @Steve not what the workers said at all. Read the article.

  107. @Bx I suspect the workers have no clue how they're being exploited.

  108. Didn't the Confederates make the same argument? "My way of life is based on incredible cruelty. Don't take it away from me." This article vastly underplays the cruelty of the operation, and aims for ridiculous heart-tugging with its story of asylum seekers. You could (unfortunately) find similar stories in virtually every industry. That's a much larger problem, not one caused by a foie gras ban. This article is so clearly biased that it's hard to know what to criticize first.

  109. By this reasoning, child labor should never have been banned, there should be no animal cruelty laws, modern farm machinery should never have existed, cars should be scrapped to bring back jobs in feeding, housing and training horses, the list goes on. Yes, some poverty level jobs will be lost, but others will take their place. Job losses due to changes in business, society and laws have always happened. People move on and get new jobs. It’s called progress.

  110. So taxpayers are supposed to feel sorry for people who illegally entered and stay in the country, and for whom the struggling and shrinking middle class heavily finances social services - healthcare, nutrition assistance, education, etc . . . Limited funds for needy elderly citizens and citizens' children increasingly go to the illegal community and their offspring. Taxpayers are supposed to feel sorry for the employers - whose businesses we effectively subsidize - who illegally employ non-citizens? If consumer demand is insufficient for a company to operate legally and profitably, its owners should direct their efforts to another venture. Lastly, taxpayers are supposed to feel sorry for Ms. Leon, who illegally entered the country in 1997 and speaks little English. Twenty-three years and she hasn't bothered to even learn the language? Until the government enforces immigration laws and penalizes - rather than enables - employers, the societal strains will only worsen with unfortunate consequences for our long-term future.

  111. @Sharon The article suggests that only some of the workers might be undocumented. The owners of local businesses in the value network are presumably legal. The discussion of losing farms and all of the directly and indirectly associated jobs is not a documentation discussion.

  112. @Sharon I take it you belong to a native tribe and are living on a reservation. If you listen to trump, you should be demanding his removal from office because he mangles the English language every time he opens his mouth. And, I'm sure you will be the first in line when the jobs that Americans don't apply for suddenly come open. If Americans don't take the jobs that are needed to produce whatever product, how long would it take for a good part of that entire production--including the parts you do like--to fail?

  113. @Sharon Excuse me, but the employees that I personally know are PROUD, LEGAL, TAX PAYING citizens of these United States of America, some of whom own their own property and homes, and spend their hard earned money to send their children to college and graduate school. They pay LOCAL taxes, and spend in the community—which is what we need. They are a valued part of the Sullivan county economy and community as a whole. Come down and check out our Main streets—so many shuttered stores, a few now re-opened as bodegas and Latino restaurants—employing more locals, and bringing much needed life back to the towns. Right now—Sullivan County needs to keep the tourism industry that it has-and hopefully get it to grow, and keep the farms we have. Isn't that what this country is all about?

  114. The headline isn't quite accurate. NYC banned the sale of foie gras produced by force-feeding birds, not the sale of all foie gras. These businesses don't need to close. They simply need to adapt to 21st-century norms around animal cruelty and produce their product in an ethical manner.

  115. @Scott How does a restaurant comply with such a nuanced ban? Does the city provide some sort of global certification of foie gras producers that complies with the city's definition of "force-feeding"?

  116. @Scott Duck liver from normally raised animals is different from foie gras from forced feeding. Duck liver is delicious, foie gras is a different product. Chefs can use duck liver in tasty but different dishes. People who want real foie gras can get it elsewhere. US veal today is not the veal of 50 years ago. We have adjusted our tastes.

  117. @Scott How is a sentient being killed ethically?

  118. Fois gras is delicious, but I haven't eaten it in over a decade. It's not just a matter of giving the geese more food to fatten them up. I saw photographs of the treatment. The abdomen extrudes from the body, and can literally sit on the ground in front of them. It's appalling.

  119. @persona Thank you for putting conscience and kindness before your own appetite. I've been working on doing the same by transitioning to a vegan diet. It shouldn't always be about us.

  120. The risks of free enterprise are many,but so are the opportunities. I am glad to see the practice stopped,and the chance for new businesses to thrive

  121. The cruelty inflicted on these animals is immeasurable. I am from rural NYS. Born and raised. I feel for all the small towns dying all over the state on a daily basis but if having a delicacy few can afford, produced in a very inhumane way is what is needed to keep them going then I say RIP to these towns.

  122. If society has issues with force feeding prisoners who go on hunger strikes - there have been lawsuits, protests and involvement from human rights activists over it and court orders are often necessary before forced feedings are allowed - then how can forcing a duck or goose to eat beyond what is normal be considered a humane and harmless process? Locally produced food is popular now. Why not seek out organizations who can guide a co-op formation to market duck meat, eggs, cheese, etc. - foods that are a commonplace source of nutrition - instead of insisting upon providing a delicacy that is a non-essential indulgence. Putting all your eggs in one basket has a long history of disaster, after all. I am a vegetarian, but do not have a problem with anyone eating meat so long as that animal was allowed a kind and reasonable life. Everything dies, what matters is the life that comes before.

  123. @B Dawson The animals might have a good life but the day they’re slaughtered makes up for that good life. Actually you’re wrong. The time of death is the most important as we will all know when that day comes. Even Timothy Leary made that point...”Dying is the most important thing we do.”

  124. Well, so much of what we do and say must be politically correct these days that what we eat might as well be, too.

  125. It's a delicacy and once-in-a-while treat that lots of people can afford. An appetizer portion with good bread is a meal. For the economic impact cited in this article, and for the selfish reason that it's truly delectable, I'm sorry to see it go.

  126. I don't get the zero sum approach. This product can be produced ethically. Its being in in France right now, the birthplace foie gras!

  127. The French (in France!) have been debating this for about 70 years and Brigitte Bardot would be appalled. The farm must go find a new luxury product, or a way to capitalize without inflicting liver disease on ducks. It's all very 18th century. By the way, real foie gras is not a 'mousse', it's the solid liver of the duck.

  128. Inhumanity should not justified by citing the economic effects of its banishment. It's hard to believe there are so many consumers of the product, assuming many of them know the details of Foie Gras production.

  129. Jobs are not more important than ethics. Period.

  130. @Jack ... Unless it's your job, I would guess.

  131. My family doesn’t eat veal nor foie gras for the reasons mentioned. How can we as a civilized society treat our animals so inhumanly simply to sate our palates? We surely can find alternatives that don’t inflict such pain and suffering. This is an opportunity to retool and redirect the foie gras industry. And while we’re at it, let’s take a close look at our consumption of octopus. This animal is immensely intelligent, resourceful, fascinating, and soon to be endangered. I urge my fellow citizens to pass it up on the menu. They need our help.

  132. Help local workers get cruelty-free jobs, but animal cruelty cannot be permitted.

  133. @gailhbrown That begs the question - is it animal cruelty?

  134. Before anyone gets upset about the treatment of ducks, they should pay a visit to any slaughtering plant, be it hogs, cattle, chickens, lambs, etc. My best guess is they may become a vegan. The kill floor of a packing house is not for the faint of heart. Sometimes the animals scream and blood is everywhere, but humans are mostly carnivores feeding on the flesh of other animals similar to carnivores in the wild. Nothing like a juicy steak, provide you don't have to visualize how it arrived on your plate.

  135. @allen roberts Why before they get upset? Are you saying that we must first eliminate all slaughter at once or just the bigger creatures first? What is your point?

  136. @allen roberts Actually, the vast majority of humans are omnivores, but as a combination of herbivore and scavenger. As you suggest, very few humans do the dirty work of hunting and killing - we simply feast on the remains of others' kills.

  137. You can hang dollar signs on all the benefits but at the end of the day it’s torture. I have been hunting all my life and am particularly angry about how animals are treated just so some obese wine swilling foodie can feel titillated by his pairing. Anyone who enjoys meat, including fish, should at some point get up close and personal with where it comes from. Many of you will never eat another steak again. Respect animals.

  138. Not feeling sorry for animal abusers losing their jobs.

  139. Vicious barbarism must be banned if humans are to have any sense of decency.

  140. I wonder why you didn't put the photo of the duck getting force fed at the top of the story? Instead it is buried towards the end. Can people not find a way to make a living without causing harm and distress to other living beings? These animals never see the light of day, crammed in a dark barn and get a feeding tube stuffed down their throats by a worker who is stressed and hurried. So wealthy people can chow down on one small part of the duck's body? Sometimes it's so hard to be a human.

  141. Cruelty is cruelty. They might be impoverished immigrants who are slightly less odious than the people who buy this stuff and the people who own the farms but they don’t get a pass just because they’re poor. Torturing animals before you murder them isn’t ok even if the alternative is starving, which it isn’t. Find another job.

  142. Save the geese at the expense of hundreds of immigrant workers trying to feed their families. Liberal logic at its best.

  143. Maybe the traders in banned fake French luxury items who sit on Fifth Avenue, just feet from the NYPD, can now carry foie gras as well? Or perhaps the out-of-state cigarette traders in Brooklyn can carry foie gras as well? Or the ladies who stand at Broadway and Houston saying "Louis Vuitton, Chanel" can now say "Louis Vuitton, Chanel, foie gras" before their partners lead you to the back room of a Chinatown store filled with fake merchandise? This silly law is going to create a black market that feeds the underworld on some level and doesn't feed the people who were doing this low-wage work.

  144. Has Capitalism turned into a "morality police"?

  145. If I prepared a gavage goose liver and a non-gavage goose liver .. Nobody would be able to tell the difference .. In the end, the only livers getting fat are the people who it eat foie gras.

  146. When will the city council ban chicken tenderloins and veal ?

  147. The ban did not start the economic blight. While more investment in the region is needed, the Times should not frame its reporting as Ending Cruelty to Animals vs Jobs. Surely there are alternative food and service jobs that can be created. Is that a young child worker in the photo?

  148. Exploited undocumented workers laboring in miserable conditions to produce a luxury product for rich people produced through cruelty to animals. Capitalism is awesome.

  149. This ban was made purely for political gain. Bravo to the Times for reminding us that legislation comes with consequences! It’s a shame that the government cares more about ducks than children. Feel free to deny vaccines to your kids! As long as they can’t eat foie gras, it’s ok. If we really cared about animal welfare we would ban the sale of all commercial meat products.

  150. I think it tastes good. No worse than veal.

  151. This story speaks volumes about our values. Workers start at 6 am and finish at 1 am the next day to earn a wage that won't even pay rent. But apparently it's preferable to going back to Honduras, where they could be kidnapped and murdered. It's not just animal cruelty that's going on here. If you can't pay a living wage to your workers, your business model is not working.

  152. Some unanswered questions here. 1. Are critics projecting "the pain and suffering endured by the voiceless animals"? 2. Why didn't reporter Leland cite evidence of such suffering? 3. Do the ducks try to run and hide during feeding time? 4. How do meat and fish/seafood-eating critics write off the terror experienced by animals about to be butchered alive, the slow asphyxiation of creatures taken from the Earth's lakes, rivers, and oceans? 5. Are only vegans the only objectors entitled to take the moral high ground here? 6. Will ALL the workers be entitled to collect unemployment benefits? 7. Will the business owners be entitled to compensation for their losses, a la Trump's farm welfare program? It's really not so easy, is it?

  153. “This,” he added, “is not where we should be shedding a tear.” ... "This," I want to say, "is not where government should be wasting our time and money."

  154. I’m not sure how slaughtering cows and chickens is some how less cruel?

  155. @South Of Albany No one said it isn't but that's not the subject of this article.

  156. I’m more upset to learn that farm workers are making so little that 1/3 of them are living in shacks on the farm property, working from 6 AM to 1 AM, with what sounds like short breaks to sleep a bit. That is insane. How do you raise a family or help your kids with homework or find any leisure time? The farm as a business can pivot to selling or producing other products, and all the secondary and tertiary businesses in the local economy will be fine. Why is it ok for people to make so little that they can’t even rent an apartment? I say ban more foods if it’s going to put an end to what sounds like effectively slave labor.

  157. @FMJ "The farm as a business can pivot to selling or producing other products, and all the secondary and tertiary businesses in the local economy will be fine. " You might choose to read the piece again - the local economy will NOT be able to "pivot" nearly as easily as you suggest. As you appear to live in NY, you should be willing to go to your legislators and lobby them to provide the people of this town and these farms more of your tax dollars to help them through this disruption. Else your choice of what not to allow others to eat will bankrupt the town and its people.

  158. @FMJ I agree with stopping the production of foie gras but I also think that the most distressing problem is the meager wages and insecurity for the workers and owners in closing the farms. This doesn't go into effect until 2022. There is time for some creative thinking on how else to create a different market.

  159. I believe that if what you do for a living causes stress, containment and discomfort/torture to another living creature, especially for a luxury appetizer, your business should not exist. The argument that you make a living on that inhumanity is not a justified premise to continue to do it. Fur farms should be illegal too of course. So should trapping animals in leg-hold and conibear traps. We have a very dark history in our society of cruelty to animals for our personal pleasure. It needs to stop and I commend New York for taking this step.

  160. @Dan well said! I wish more people understood this position.

  161. @Dan I don't think most people would disagree with you. But to adopt that approach would mean shutting down almost all meat, poultry, and egg production in the U.S. Maybe we'd all get over that eventually, but we'd have to find a new way to produce vaccines without eggs, I suppose.

  162. @Dan Seems like a no-brainer, doesn't it?

  163. This sounds like the arguments for the coal industry- and those workers get paid better. There's no reason to keep a bad industry just because people get paid for it. Otherwise we'd still have asbestos in every wall. Gov. Cuomo might want to consider grants to help farms adapt from foie gras to other types of agriculture and tax allowances for local farms to help minimize the difference between local farms and factory farms. Local farms are great for the environment and for reducing the chance of mass recalls such as salmonella. But we don't need to allow cruel industries to support local farming

  164. @Leah I think this is different. If you don't like the idea of foie gras, don't eat it. Don't buy it. And - if you want to be very serious about it - don't go to restaurants who put it on their menus. With your examples (coal today or asbestos in the past), as a consumer you may not have a choice or may not know precisely what your energy or siding is made from. By the way, I just checked on NYSESG's website and noticed that 4% of the energy that our house uses is from coal - it's not like I can tell them HEY STOP! I have no choice in the matter.

  165. @Leah OMG - coal is polluting and heating our planet, which has been burning before our eyes. Coal usage is contributing to making our planet uninhabitable, forcing people from their homes and the death of up to a billion animals in Australia. Foie gras is contributing to amazing meals and the "cruelty" is debatable.

  166. @Ugh Foie gras isn't worse than any other factory meat, egg, or milk production.

  167. I am proud to be a 'foodie' - but my support of foie gras in this situation has less to do with eating it (as it's not very healthy), but more with giving people choice and protecting farmers. Chefs should be allowed to sell it or not sell it, and diners should be allowed to eat it - or not eat it - if they wish. Let the market determine if an ingredient should become unmarketable. In this case, not only is this a case of government reaching too far, but it's also harming all these workers. And for what benefit? Who, precisely, is benefiting from this? Just so that you and councilwoman Rivera don't SEE this ingredient on a menu?? How do you think chicken, pork, and cattle get treated in mass-produced 'farms'??? Do you think they are less cruel?

  168. @Foodie So is your point that our treatment of animals doesn't matter at all, or that where there's any mistreatment of animals, all mistreatment of animals goes? Just trying to grapple with this incredibly depressing perspective and its extrapolation to a host of other social ills.

  169. @Nick so your woke city perspective ignores the fact that the ducks are not harmed by the feeding? If you actually read the article you would have seen that the American Veterinary Medical Association takes a neutral position, citing a lack of evidence that birds are harmed by the process. Your position is very typical of the woke far-left, it is based more on virtue signaling than facts.

  170. @GP Your argument is moot when you use worn out phrases such as "woke" and "virtue signaling". Also I did read the article and the full sentence is "The American Veterinary Medical Association takes a neutral position, citing a lack of evidence that birds are harmed by the process, though many veterinarians disagree". Perhaps instead of cherry picking phrases to suit you read and comprehend the full sentence.

  171. "Banning cigarettes in restaurants is legislative overreach at its worst." There isn't anything that the government does that isn't considered "overreach at it's worst" by someone. So, the question isn't whether or not some people will be affected by legislation, because that is true for all legislation. And it's not a question of whether or not some people's livelihoods will be affected by legislation, because that is also true for all legislation. The question is, does it move us, as a society, in the right direction? Banning cigarettes in public places did. It upset a lot of people. A lot of people screamed about it. But, in the end, it had a very positive effect on our society. Now, despite what some people may think, animals are a part of our society. They have feelings, emotions, social connections, and everyday we find out that they are more aware, and think deeper than we previously thought. So, with that in mind, I'd like to ask one simple question. Do you think these ducks would support this ban? Or, to put it another way, what if it was people who were being force fed in order to please the appetites of a few well off ducks? That may sound like a ludicrous question, but it's only ludicrous if you think of animals as inanimate unfeeling objects who's sole purpose is to be used for other people's "pleasure", or "enjoyment". And that opinion strikes me as not only unenlightened, but particularly naive, self-serving and cruel.

  172. @Chicago Guy Finally, someone asks the right question. Thank you.

  173. @Chicago Guy Tobacco farmers adapted, so can duck farmers.

  174. @Chicago Guy The cigarette ban and the foie gras ban are completely different. When we banned cigarette advertising and smoking in public, it didn't stop the production or sale of tobacco. What this ban does is shut down the business in the state, putting people out of work - especially people in the poorest, most vulnerable parts of the state. I'm no foie gras fan but even I think this maybe overreach. And farmers and their workers will adjust... to not being employed at all. Farming in this country is being destroyed by tariffs and foreign oversupply. Farms are shutting down constantly. But as usual the people at the lowest end of the political totem pole get the short end of the stick. If foie gras was produced by Big Agra, this ban wouldn't have seen the light of day.

  175. Raising animals to eat is not only cruel but given the dire predictions for our future due to climate change, what will it take for us to shift to a plant based diet?

  176. The first photo encapsulates the cruelty which the foie gras industry, and factory farming in general, inflicts on animals and humans. A young boy has been trained to handle a living creature as if it were inanimate - held upside down by one leg - indifferent to its existence as a living, breathing fellow creature. He has been taught to act as if the animals under his and his family's care are lifeless. It's hard to imagine that his capacity for empathy, compassion and co-existence with other forms of life hasn't been damaged by the cruel system he has been made part of.

  177. The farmers can afford to pay an expensive high-powered law firm, but not to provide good wages to their workers? The process is cruel for the animals and they should starting transitioning their farm to something else and away from gruesome animal torture.

  178. @Mark Actually, hiring an expensive lobbying firm was part of the farmer's efforts to protect the workers. Believe it or not, the cost of labor can extend beyond wages.

  179. hey Mark, what about the Texas roundup of rattlesnakes?

  180. There are many examples of the governments' decisions causing pain to this or that business but those decisions have been made democratically and are beyond reproach. In some situations, the entire industries have been hit for probably just reasons (coal, smoking) so this peculiar case is only an anecdotal example. As for poor MX workers, hopefully legally here, perhaps not, there are thousands US workers who passed through same ordeal when the governments 'approved', encouraged even, outsourcing jobs. That too is nothing new in America. Today you're here, tomorrow who knows?

  181. Oh, but fois gras is so delicious! And since the NYT's consistent position is that there is no social ill too great to allow our support of illegal immigration to waver, I simply do not see what the issue is here.

  182. I have a better idea! How about prosecuting the farmers under the new animal cruelty act?! That The NY Times found sympathy for the animal abuser farmers and their low paid, 1/3 indentured workers is unconscionable.

  183. So foie gras lovers will order from D'Artagnan? The losers will be farmers and farm workers in NY state.

  184. Every story has a hole and this one names only one restaurant that serves a lot of foie gras. Curious what some others are.

  185. How about a nice liverwurst on rye toast instead? Think anyone would know the difference?

  186. But caviar harvesting is going forward?

  187. It's cruel! It's disgusting! Ban it!

  188. Go ahead, dine on your foie gras, have some veal while you're at it, don't worry about the monstrousness of it, you have no souls to blithely abuse these beings for your pleasure. Oh so tender, smooth, nothing like it, yum. I only hope there is some justice and y'all will be held to account. I fear it is not to be so.

  189. @Me Are you a vegan? Otherwise I'd love to hear your methodology. Is veal bad but milk is ok? If you don't understand the correlation I'd encourage you to spend some time on a dairy farm.

  190. How ridiculous. Animal torture is not an excuse for supporting farmers. These are not the only low wage jobs and there are many other products they can grow.

  191. I'm all for foie gras myself.

  192. The ban is ridiculous and arbitrary and should be repealed before going into effect!!!

  193. Is it possible to make ersatz foie gras with normal livers and duck fat?

  194. Other than feeding the egos of those for the ban, what real difference does this make in the life of ducks who are going to be butchered anyway? If plastic tubes are more humane than metal, make them a requirement. Too many Americans force-feed themselves, according to obesity figures. Why is this so terrible for ducks?

  195. @Amos M How would you like to have a pipe rammed down your throat twice each day, pumping 30+ pounds of grain and fat into your stomachs, or if you let say shaped like a geese than it's three times a day, 40+ pounds daily, Now, what if that happened to you? Torture is torture. It goes for all being on this earth. I don't know anyone who force-feed themselves with pipes shoved down their throats, do you? The muscovy duck weight in average 10-15 lbs and are being force-fed 2.2 pounds.

  196. @Amos M “Too many Americans force-feed themselves, according to obesity figures.” And that “force feeding” is promoted and encouraged by advertising firms, contracted to the restaurant and fast food industry, that line the concrete canyons of NYC and contribute to the “success” of the city.

  197. It is absolutely unconscionable that such cruelty to animals can be done to provide such a small segment of the population with a gourmet 'delicacy'. Those that run these farms should be ashamed, as should those that eat fois gras. The farmers will sleep better at night if they transition to growing/raising sustainable foods in a way that doesn't harm animals. Outlawing this product and such cruel treatment of the ducks or geese should have been done years ago!

  198. @Ann ~ It's easy to play Monday morning quarterback. Are you a farmer? Do you live in a farming community or know any farmers? Do you know how difficult it is for farmers to stay financially solvent/afloat? Do you understand everything that's involved in farming? Like another person posted - "People object to the way lots of animals destined for our consumption are treated before they hit our plates. Should beef be outlawed? Chickens? Turkeys? " Kudos to you for showing a sense of compassion for the animals. Try having some compassion for the human part of this equation, which are those people whose lives depend on their farming jobs. Their security (which is tenuous in many cases) may be destroyed by this new edict.

  199. @Mrsmarv Using your reasoning to justify keeping these farms in the business of torturing helpless birds is not a valid reason for doing so. I have no objection to farming of animals for food if they are treated ethically, but that isn't the case when they're raised to produce fois gras. It's sad that the farmers chose to be a part of this business from the getgo.

  200. @Ann Do you eat beef or chicken or pork? Do you drink milk or eat cheese? Do you think dairy cows have a happy life as their calves are dragged away crying? This is sadly no worse than the life of any other factory farmed animals.

  201. I think that the way veal is produced is horrible, so I don't eat veal. But people who want to eat veal should be able to. People object to the way lots of animals destined for our consumption are treated before they hit our plates. Should beef be outlawed? Chickens? Turkeys? People do not have to eat fois gras any more than anyone has to eat hamburgers, chicken wings, or Thanksgiving dinner. Restaurants do not have to sell fois gras. If people decide that they don't want to eat it and restaurants decide they don't want to sell it, then the lack of demand will lead to less supply. That's called math. Also, once upon a time the whole country banned alcohol. How did that turn out?

  202. I am OK with the four gras ban but we should also think about how to help the workers. Agricultural workers are often put in the worst jobs that are physically difficult and morally demeaning because of the way animals are treated. Animal cruelty should not be the basis for employment but I’m also disturbed by the number of comments that only talk about the animals and ignore the workers. We are a rich enough economy that we can take care of both.

  203. This is terrific journalism, illustrating how a seemingly simple issue can be mind-numbingly complex.

  204. If the City Council really wanted to ban fois gras and not just make a political statement, they would have started the ban immediately, not two years from now. Almost anything banned starting in the future, somehow never seems to come to fruition.

  205. The natural life cycle of migratory fowl involves gorging to create a fatty liver, which is how foie gras was first discovered centuries ago. In addition, these birds open their throats to allow passage of whole fish. So while you can make an argument against crowding or other less than ideal treatment, there is really nothing about the conditions these birds endure that is any worse than poultry farms across the country. In fact, given its artisanal nature, I would argue that conditions are on balance somewhat better. Singling out foie gras is, in my view, misguided and anthropomorphic.

  206. You can always count on do-gooder liberals to take actions that will destroy livelihoods and businesses as well as individual rights because of some artificial notion of ethics applied uniformly instead of evaluating specific cases. Eliminate smoking in restaurants? Both liberals and conservatives would agree that this is a good thing given the dangers of second hand smoke. Smoking by yourself in places where nobody else is around - no problem. This is still America where individuals have rights. Drinking a big gulp with lots of sugar, former Mayor Bloomberg notwithstanding, your decision. Same with foie gras. Personally I wouldn't touch it as I prefer my coronary arteries to remain open, but it should be an individual choice.

  207. @Mike F. ~ I consider myself a "do-good liberal", but this ban is ridiculous. When do we look at the ramifications a ban like this imposes on those humans it impacts? When does the government's control over the choices we make end?

  208. @Mrsmarv For liberals of the socialist persuasion, government control over the choices we make and the rights we enjoy never ends. They believe that "the people" are incapable of making their own choices so the government therefore needs to do so.

  209. On the one hand, foie gras is an incredibly expensive luxury food that people eat in very small servings. On the other hand, almost all of it created in America come from 2 farms in Sullivan Country, which employ modern, efficient farming processes, are presently 'sold out' and employ 400 people of indeterminate immigration status at what appears to be minimum wage or less. Where is all the money going?

  210. There are many other job opportunities out there that don't involve being complicit in and personally taking part in animal torture and abuse.

  211. Take a moment and watch a video about how Foie Gras is created. I have. It's the stuff of nightmares -- cruel and awful. And I can't imagine that this line of work doesn't have psychological ramifications for those who force feed these animals. So thank you, NYC. I, for one, will manage to enjoy life without fatty duck liver and hope the state can address the economic repercussions for those who need to find different work.

  212. @Craig Davison It is exactly the same for all farm animals including dairy animals.

  213. In the majority of the comments I have read supporting the ban, no one speaks of the actual slaughter of the ducks for the duck breasts and other products. I doubt the ducks are in favor of that aspect thus the conundrum. How do you support a ban on force feeding yet not a ban on the meat that comes from the slaughter? It is my opinion that regulatory efforts should be directed on the overall animal welfare (emphasis on available space per animal, sunlight) and environmental impacts of farming (hello leaching corporate animal sewage lagoons). And no I do not eat food grass and am trying very hard to give up all meat.

  214. Point noted, but we must start somewhere.