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Animal Defenders of Westchester
P.O. Box 205
Yonkers, NY 10704


Activists seek ban of NY foie gras

Published in the NY SUN, 11/16/06

Staff Reporter of the Sun

In New Lawsuit, Activists Seek Ban On Production of Foie Gras in N.Y.

Animal rights activists have asked a state judge to stop foie gras production in New York, saying the ducks used are overfed to such an extent that they are diseased and unfit for sale under state law.

The lawsuit, if it succeeds, could spell the end of foie gras production in America, a goal animal rights groups have long sought. The two Sullivan county farms that are defendants in the suit are the only foie gras producers in the country, other than a Northern Californian foie gras farm that may shut down under a California state law banning the industry.

The suit comes on the heels of Chicago's recently imposed ban of the delicacy, which comes from the fattened liver of force-fed ducks and geese.

Yesterday's suit, filed in state Supreme Court in Albany, represents an unusual turn to the courts by opponents of the foie gras industry, who have mostly focused their attentions on encouraging legislators to enact bans, legal observers say.

"It sounds creative," a professor at Michigan State College of Law who closely follows animal rights litigation, David Favre, said. "This is a new approach."

The plaintiffs, who include the state and national humane societies, claim that foie gras should be considered an "adulterated" food product because the ducks grow so unnaturally fat and ill that they qualify as diseased under state agriculture law, according to the complaint. It is illegal to sell the products of diseased animals under state law. The suit accuses the commissioner of New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, Patrick Brennan, for not classifying foie gras as an "adulterated" food and taking it off the market, according to the complaint.

One of the foie gras producers being sued, Hudson Valley Foie Gras, disagrees with calling the 1,000 ducks usually on site diseased.

"Last I checked, we haven't been shut down by any regulators," a company official, Allison Lee, said.

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