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Ducks and geese are force-fed cornmeal to make their livers grow up to ten times their natural size in order to produce foie gras. This force-feeding is known as gavage and causes a number of injuries, including bruising or perforation of the esophagus; hemorrhaging and inflammation of the neck resulting from the repeated insertion of the pipe to the throat; and asphyxia caused by food improperly forced into the trachea. Wounds of the esophagus may subsequently become infected. Force-feeding also results in numerous illnesses and diseases, including hepatic lipidosis, bacterial and fungal infections, malnourishment, and lameness. For these reasons, mortality rates for force-feed ducks are 10 to 20 times higher than those for non-force fed ducks. Behavioral evidence shows that ducks and geese experience fear, as well as acute and chronic stress from the multiple daily force-feedings and the pain associated with them.

Hundreds of restaurants around the world have stopped serving foie gras because of its inherent cruelty. Nationwide retailers such as Whole Foods,, and Aramark have also banned the sale of foie gras. Internationally, the foie gras ban has expanded fast as general animal welfare laws have been interpreted to prohibit the practice. Countries that banned the force-feeding of ducks and geese include Argentina, Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, Norway, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Turkey, Holland, Israel, Switzerland, and the UK.


On November 25, 2019, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed Intro 1378A into law to ban the sale of cruel force-fed foie gras through the five boroughs. The bill, which was introduced by Council Member Carlina Rivera and championed by Speaker Corey Johnson, previously passed the NYC Council on October 30 with an overwhelming vote. LCA is proud to be a member of the coalitionled by Voters for Animals Rightsthat has worked tirelessly to see this bill enacted. 



January 2019: California's foie gras ban upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.

January 2015: California's foie gras ban was overturned by a single district judge: Stephen V. Wilson. Wilson deemed the ban unconstitutional, claiming it goes against existing federal poultry laws. LCA is taking on this issue, and will not rest until the foie gras ban is fully reinstated.

July 2012: California's foie gras ban takes effect. Violators risk fines of up to $1,000. The sole producer of foie gras in California, Sonoma-Artisan, ceased operations on July 1st.

May 2012: Brandishing a less common strategy in the fight to ban foie gras, leading animal rights groups to file a lawsuit against the USDA claiming that foie gras is inherently the product of diseased birds, due to their oversized livers, and therefore is illegal under existing USDA regulations.

May 2008: Mayor Richard M. Daley, who called Chicago's ban the "silliest" ordinance the city had ever passed, puts forward a bill to repeal it. The City Council votes to overturn Chicago's foie gras ban by a vote of 37-6.

April 2006: After a campaign by animal rights groups, the city of Chicago bans the sale of foie gras by a vote of 48 to 1, making it the first city in the U.S. to do so. The measure, enforced only through citizen complaints, fines restaurants $250, then $500 per offense after an initial warning. Upset with being told what they could and could not serve, in acts of civil disobedience a day after the ban, chefs who didn't typically have foie gras on their menus served it in various forms.

September 2004: California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signs into law a ban on the sale and production of foie gras commencing in 2012. “This bill provides seven and a half years for agricultural husbandry practices to evolve and perfect a humane way for a duck to consume grain to increase the size of its liver through natural processes,” he said in his signing statement. “If agricultural producers are successful in this endeavor, the ban on foie gras sales and production in California will not occur.”


August 2003: Israel prohibits the production of foie gras, commencing from 2005. Unlike other countries, where the bans were decided legislatively, anti-foie activists ultimately earned a ruling from Israel's Supreme Court which concluded that force-feeding violated animal cruelty laws. In 2003, Israel had the third largest foie gras industry in the world (after France and Hungary).


August 2003: Argentina bans foie gras production, saying "force feeding must be considered mistreatment or an act of cruelty to animals, in this case to geese or ducks."


March 2001: Italy issues a legislative decree to ban foie gras production in 2004, calling force feeding "torture" and "barbaric."


August 2000: The UK effectively bans foie gras production under an interpretation of its farmed animal welfare regulations.

December 2011: While the UK has banned the production of foie gras, foie gras can still be served in restaurants. Most supermarkets, however, prohibit the sale. Celebrity butcher Jack O'Shea was escorted out of Selfridge's supermarket for illegally selling foie gras to customers who knew his secret password. Two months later he was fired from his post.


December 1998: The EU's Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare publishes an influential, 89-page report on foie gras production that helps form the EU's policy.

June 1999: The EU prohibits foie gras production in member states (effective from 2004, except where it is already "in current practice"), and calls for research into alternative techniques for its production that do not require force-feeding.


August 1997: Poland bans force-feeding “for the purposes of the fatty degeneration of livers."


1993: The Czech Republic bans force-feeding, "particular poultry in intensive farming."


June 1991: Denmark bans force-feeding.


December 1974: Norway bans force-feeding.


July 1972: Germany bans force-feeding.


1965: Luxemburg bans animal force-feeding unless an animal’s health specifically requires it.


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