Mayor De Blasio signs bill banning the sale of foie gras in New York City

Photo by Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech

Foie gras will be “foie-gotten” now that Mayor Bill de Blasio signed the bill banning the sale of the French delicacy into law Monday, Nov. 25.

Under the bill, restaurants caught selling dishes with the fattened goose and duck livers will be charged with a misdemeanor and fined between $500 and $2,000. Animal rights activists pushed for the ban arguing that practice is cruel to the animals. In order to fatten the fouls livers, farmers force feed geese and ducks grain via a metal tube multiple times a day.

“Something can be a tradition and that does not make it healthy, it does not make it positive,” said Mayor De Blasio, in front of backdrop of sign waving animal rights activists at the Tony Dapolito Recreation Center.

The bill received pushback earlier this year against restaurant owners and duck and geese farmers whose profits will be hurt when the law goes into effect in 2022.

“We can still deliver an amazing dining experience in one of the culinary capitals of the world without it,” said Councilmember Carlina Rivera, sponsor of the foie gras ban bill. “There have been global cities and national cities that have put forward this ban and they are still thriving in the restaurant industry.”

Today, New York City joins the state of California and countries like India, Israel and Great Britain that have also passed a ban on foie gras.

“The humane concept of this kind of dawned on me, that this is about all of us and this is about everything,” said de Blasio, after recounting the multiple times animal rights activists pulled him aside on the steps of City Hall to the express their concern for the city’s animals. “If we allow cruelty in our midst is a poison, a cancer that keeps growing.”

“I needed to be educated, I needed to learn from this movement and I understand that now.”

Other animal bills signed today included legislation that will prohibit horses from working when the temperature is over 90 degrees Fahrenheit or in 80-degree weather with an equine heat index of 150 degrees; that will require all dogs brought to kennels, offices and businesses to be vaccinated for bordetella; to ban the trafficking of wild birds; to require full-service animal shelters to post pictures of new adoptable animals online within three days; the creation of an Office of Animal Welfare; and the publication of a semi-annual public report by the NYPD of reports on animal cruelty complaints and arrests.