Rhode Island has become the latest state to attempt to ban the sale of foie gras, following back-and-forth legal wrangling that has dragged on for almost two decades in California and a ban that is set to become effective next year in New York City.
Proponents of the bans claim that the process of making foie gras involves animal cruelty because of the force-feeding methods that cause the birds’ livers to swell—hence the name foie gras, French for “fat liver.”
Rhode Island’s proposed Force-Fed Poultry Act, introduced last week, would prohibit restaurants and retailers from selling any foods containing force-fed poultry products. In California, former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the nation’s first ban on the sale and production of foie gras in 2004, although the law did not take effect until 2012 and has since been repeatedly challenged by chefs and foie gras producers who claim their methods of farming are not outside the norm.
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