Brussels Bans Foie Gras

The Belgian capital city enacts a symbolic ban to prohibit the cruel practice of force-feeding ducks in hopes that surrounding cities follow suit.


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Brussels, the capital city of Belgium, has officially banned the production of foie gras within its city limits. While Belgium is one of the five countries—in addition to France, Spain, Bulgaria, and Hungary—that still produces foie gras, there are no production facilities within Brussels. This ban is therefore a symbolic move by the city government in hopes of influencing surrounding cities to adopt similar bans. Foie gras—or the enlarged liver of a duck or a goose— is produced by force-feeding the birds until their livers swell up to 10 times their normal size. “Force-feeding boils down to torture,” Brussels’ Secretary of State of Animal Welfare Bianca Debaets said. “I cannot permit it.” Banning the production of foie gras does not eliminate the sale of the product in the city, as that aspect of the industry falls under different legislation. Many European countries—including Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Turkey, and the UK—currently ban the production of foie gras.