Having solved all other problems, NYC bans foie gras

Who cares about anti-police riots in the streets or a crumbling mass transit system? New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council have bigger fish to fry. And starting in 2022, Gotham residents may be ordering more fish when they go out to eat than they do currently because foie gras will be off the menu in the Big Apple. That’s right. Hizzoner has signed off on a new law banning the “bizarre delicacy” in all eateries in the city. (Washington Examiner)

Foie gras will soon be pulled from menus across New York City after Mayor Bill de Blasio signed legislation that bans sales of the French delicacy.

De Blasio signed the bill into law on Monday. It had been widely supported by the New York City Council, which voted overwhelmingly in favor of banning the food over concerns of animal cruelty. The ban will go into effect in 2022 and is expected to have an impact on the approximately 1,000 restaurants that serve the dish, according to the New York Times…

Marco Moreira, the executive chef and owner of French restaurant Tocqueville, criticized the law and said that it would damage the city’s fine dining scene.

“New York is the mecca of dining in the world. How is it possible that New York doesn’t have foie gras?” Moreira said. “What’s next? No more veal? No more mushrooms?”

I’ll just start off by saying that I personally find the process of raising ducks or geese for the creation of foie gras to be highly problematic. I haven’t touched the stuff in many years for precisely that reason. It’s the same case with veal, which my wife and I haven’t eaten in more than two decades.

As regular readers know, I’m not a vegan or a vegetarian. I grew up in farm country and worked on farms owned by relatives when I was growing up, so I’m familiar with the process of raising animals for food. I firmly believe that human beings are designed to eat both plants and animals. You can tell just by looking at our teeth. And as the dominant species on the planet, we’re entitled to use animals as a food source.

But with all of that said, we should also be mindful of not being needlessly cruel to the animals we raise for our food. Granted, life isn’t great for cows, chickens and other animals living on large farms, but that’s the way of the world. But the handling of birds and calves used for foie gras and veal is a bridge too far for me.

Does that mean that municipal food bans are the way to go? Ideally, the free market would handle such an issue. If enough people refuse to partake in those dishes, the demand would dry up and the problem would solve itself. But if we collectively decide that something has to be done, why go after the restaurants? (There will be fine of $2,000 for each instance of serving foie gras when the law goes into effect.) The problem being addressed is animal cruelty, not foodservice industry practices. If you have to ban something, ban the farming practices used to create it.

I’m not going to criticize others who choose to eat foie gras or veal. It’s a personal matter. And in the end, animals have no inherent rights other than those we grant them by law. So this ban is the wrong answer to something that not everyone considers a problem. It’s the same heavy-handed nanny state approach that New York takes with almost every bone of contention. And it’s not going to do much for the ducks and the geese, either. Anyone who really wants foie gras will simply drive out of the city or over to New Jersey and order it at a restaurant there.