This week, New York City Council held a hearing on several proposed bills, including Intro 1378—a proposal to ban the sale of foie gras introduced by Council Member Carlina Rivera in January. Typically, the production of foie gras involves force-feeding ducks or geese until their livers reach an engorged, unnatural state. “We are not killing for consumption in its natural form. We are torturing an animal in order to alter it into a diseased state, so we can satisfy our addiction to taste,” veterinary internal medicine specialist Andrew Kaplan said during the hearing. “Make no mistake, this is an addiction because this type of ‘food’ is neither healthy for consumers, nor is it reconcilable with what must be done to the geese in order to produce it.” New York foie gras producers attended the hearing to voice their concerns, claiming that they do not engage in animal cruelty and opposed Intro 1378 on the basis of job loss should the animal product become illegal to sell. Outside of City Hall, members of animal-rights group Voters for Animal Rights (VFAR) and NYC residents gathered to support the passing of Intro 1368 into law. “You’d think that passing this law would be easy—after all, who would support ramming a foot-long metal pole down the throat of a duck or a goose?” VFAR said in a statement. “Why would anyone willingly eat diseased liver? But the reality is that the factory farming industry will stop at nothing to keep making money off abused ducks and geese.” Since January, 25 out of 51 New York City Council members have backed Intro 1378, which, if passed into law, would impose up to a $1,000 fine and one year of jail time on individuals that continue to sell the cruelly begotten animal product. Christine Kim, a senior communication liaison for NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, spoke on behalf of the mayor’s office during the hearing. “This administration has always demonstrated a strong commitment to animal welfare, and we know birds can suffer tremendously in the production of foie gras. That is why we support the intent of [Intro 1378],” Kim said. “We encourage the City Council to explore the impacts of this proposal.” During the hearing, Council Members discussed a total of 16 proposed bills that affect animal lives, including a ban on the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits at pet stores, increased protection for carriage horses during inclement weather conditions, protecting wild birds from poachers, and more.
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