Activists sue demanding N.Y. foie gras ban

Correspondent R.C. directs our attention to the curious claim of “harm” by the last-named plaintiff:

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 first challenge the suit faces is to convince a judge that the animal-rights activists who filed the suit have suffered enough harm to allow them standing to sue. The plaintiffs in yesterday’s suit offered several ways that they had been harmed by the foie gras industry.

One plaintiff, Caroline Lee, claims that the state’s regulatory departments are misspending her tax dollars by inspecting birds raised for foie gras production without concluding they are diseased. Another plaintiff, an animal rescue organization, Farm Sanctuary, claims its employees have been “aesthetically and emotionally injured” by being exposed to the “suffering” of abandoned ducks that they rescue from foie gras production. Another plaintiff, a New York restaurateur, Joy Pierson, claims that her decision not to serve foie gras has caused her to lose customers at her two Manhattan restaurants, Candle 79 and Candle Café, according to the complaint.

(Joseph Goldstein, “In New Lawsuit, Activists Seek Ban On Production of Foie Gras in N.Y.”, New York Sun, Nov. 16). More: Nov. 10, Nov. 2, Aug. 18, Jun. 8, Apr. 27, etc.


  • FYI, Candle 79 and Candle Cafe are both *vegan* establishments.

    One could argue that more business is being lost by their decision not to serve dead cow products, rather than stuffed duck products.

  • “Another plaintiff, a New York restaurateur, Joy Pierson, claims that her decision not to serve foie gras has caused her to lose customers at her two Manhattan restaurants, Candle 79 and Candle Café, according to the complaint.”

    Um, CHOOSING not to serve ANY dish will lose the customers who prefer that dish. This is INHERENT to the capitalist system. If that gives her standing, then the only logical outcome is to have all restaurants serve exactly the same thing.

    That’s the most absurd claim I’ve seen in a long time here, possibly even the most absurd claim I’ve evr seen here, and that would be quite an accomplishment.

  • Good. This food should be banned. I think this is a good use of the courts to help bring about a powerful and positive change. Crappy lawsuits suck, especially now that i have lukwarm McD’s coffee. But I ma all for this. It is the most cruel thinkg to do to an animal.

  • It isn’t the job of the court to “bring about change”.

  • Can I sue for being aesthically and emotionally injured by being exposed to stupid animal rights groups?

  • gould631,

    This IS a “crappy lawsuit” – if you want this stopped, you should support LEGISLATION to stop it, not court intervention. The legislature has jurisdiction on this issue, not the judiciary – it’s one of those, mildly important “separation of powerrs’ things… you know, one of the bedrock principles of our entire governmental system?

  • gould 631:

    Force feeding is “the most cruel thing to do to an animal”??

    Ever been to a slaughter house, or poultry processing faclity?

    I know its “icky” and such, but millions get fed cheaply this way. Not that foie gras is cheap.

    Banning foie gras production in the US may force me to break my long standing boycott of French products. It is THAT tasty.

    PETA – “People Eating Tasty Animals”

  • They even got the species of animal wrong.
    Foie Gras is produced from goose liver, not duck liver (or should be, to be real foie gras. If they use duck liver in NY they should be sued for fraud, not animal cruelty).

    I do agree however that the forcefeeding of the birds to fatten their livers prior to slaughter amounts to animal cruelty.
    But if that happens (there is foie gras production where it doesn’t) the breeders should be sued over that rather than banning the product.

  • Gavage (the force-feeding of ducks) is not cruel; the problem is the people who don’t think or take the time to understand it who anthropomorphise the birds.

    I suggest J.T. Wenting look up the piece Andrew Gumbel wrote for the London Independent on Sonoma Foie Gras…actually, I think it’s no longer available, but there’s an excerpt of that and a letter from a guy who raises birds for foie gras on my blog.

    Hope you don’t mind me posting the link: