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Foie Gras Can’t Be Banned in New York City, State Supreme Court Says

Foie Gras Can’t Be Banned in New York City, State Supreme Court Says

The foie-gras war in New York City may finally be coming to an end.

On Friday, the New York Supreme Court ruled against the city’s ban on foie gras, meaning that restaurants throughout N.Y.C. can continue serving the delicacy. Local Law 202, which sought to ban the sale of foie gras in New York City, was deemed to violate state laws that protect farming practices and promote agricultural commerce.

“This ruling is a victory for farmers across New York State,” said Sergio Saravia, the president of La Belle Farms, one of just three farms in the United States that produces foie gras. “It’s about more than just foie gras; it’s about preserving our right to farm and support our families.”

It’s been a long road to this outcome: All the way back in 2019, New York voted to enact the foie-gras ban. In part, supporters of the law argued that foie gras was produced by force-feeding ducks to increase the size of their livers, and that a ban would result in better animal-welfare practices. However, farms that produce and sell foie gras—such as La Belle and Hudson Valley Foie Gras, both based in Ferndale, New York—pushed back against the law, saying that it would have adverse effects on their businesses.

The ban has since been winding its way through the courts, and it was initially set to go into effect in November 2022. Both the state Department of Agriculture and Markets and judges have in the past sided with the farmers, and the ban was stuck in limbo for years. In early 2023, New York City even sued the state in an attempt to finally bring the law to fruition. But now the city has been dealt a blow in the foie-gras fight once again.

“The Court’s thorough and insightful decision sets an important precedent that protects the farming community in Sullivan County and the broader agricultural economy of New York State,” Edward J. Phillips, a lawyer who represented the farmers, said in a statement.

While a state supreme court ruling sounds like it should be the final word in the matter, animal-rights activists have been fighting for some five years to get foie gras banned in New York City. It’s possible, then, that the court’s opinion is just the latest installment in the long-running saga.

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