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Daffy for ducks: The City Council’s foie gras ban is the triumph of shallow symbolism over substance


An employee feeds a duck at Hudson Valley Duck Farm December 15, 2017 in Ferndale, New York. (DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)

Members of the City Council are feeling just ducky as, egged on by animal rights activists, they waddle toward a ban on the sale of fatty livers from force-fed birds.

Not that the legislation’s sponsors have witnessed how the delicacy, consumed at high end establishments by those comfortable enough to afford it, gets made; they’ve turned down offers from Hudson Valley foie gras producers to tour facilities.

The Council’s proposed ban seems arbitrary. An estimated 12-17 million birds are sold at New York City’s live poultry markets each year, compared to 15,000-40,000 ducks slaughtered for foie gras annually. Many cows, pigs and chickens are raised and slaughtered on factory farms in conditions some consider intolerably inhumane.

Would the Council ban the sale of all beef and poultry in supermarkets and fast-food joints and school cafeterias lest it meet higher standards? Have they made a serious push to remedy conditions for humans laboring at food factories and farms, now finally set to see some relief thanks to a change in state law?

Of course not. This is fetishism, not serious legislation. They’re not courageous, they’re chicken.