A new ruling by New York State's Department of Agriculture and Markets challenges the city's ban on foie gras, claiming it violates state law on farmers' rights.
Foie gras is a French delicacy made of fatty goose or duck liver. The food has been controversial due to the method of preparation, which animal rights activists argue amounts to cruelty. It is made by force-feeding the poultry with corn boiled in fat, then harvesting their livers, which can have swollen up to eight times their normal size.
The delicacy has been banned in a dozen countries already, with the state of California passing a ban in 2004, which took effect in 2012.
In September, the New York Supreme Court ruled that farms could still sell foie gras to restaurants while the case went to court.
New York City passed the ban on the grounds of animal cruelty in 2019, and it was meant to be enforced on November 25. However, the agriculture department called the ban "unreasonably restrictive."
Additionally, La Belle Farm and Hudson Valley Foie Gras sued the city in May, saying that it would jeopardize jobs and their operations.
Edward J. Phillips, an attorney for the farms, called the state's ruling a "game changer" for litigation because, unless the city promptly decides to push back against it, the order will remain in place.
Likewise, state officials called the ban "unusual," saying it seeks to bar the sale of a lawfully-produced food product "not for the health, safety or welfare of its citizens — but to change animal husbandry practices occurring in farms outside its jurisdictions to which it objects."
A spokesperson for the city law department said the ruling is under review and that they "will respond accordingly."
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