NewsPolitics Foie gras ban draws heated debate at City Council hearing Proponents of a citywide ban on foie gras show their support at a City Council hearing on Tuesday. Photo Credit: William Alatriste By Lisa L. Colangelo email@example.com @lisalcolangelo Updated June 19, 2019 8:08 AM Print Share fbShare Tweet Email The City Council had a full plate Tuesday as its Health Committee mulled more than a dozen animal welfare bills that included a ban on foie gras — a delicacy some say is too cruel to stomach. The anti-foie gras bill, sponsored by Manhattan Councilwoman Carlina Rivera, would specifically ban the sale of certain poultry products “that are the result of force-feeding birds” at food service establishments in the five boroughs. “I think the animal cruelty aspect is undeniable,” said Allie Taylor, president of Voters for Animal Rights, who testified in favor of the ban. Numerous animal advocates, clad in blue t-shirts that read “Ban Foie Gras,” packed the Council chambers. Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal, who represents the Upper West Side, donned a blue “Ban Foie Gras” t-shirt for part of the hearing. Opponents of the ban also came out in large numbers, wearing green t-shirts emblazoned with “Save the Foie. Save NY Farms.” The ban's supporters said gruesome methods are used to create the foie gras. Ducks and geese are force fed via a metal tube to make their livers larger, more fatty and flavorful. Twenty-five of the Council's 51 members have signed onto the bill. No vote was taken during Tuesday’s hearing. “This has to be stopped,” said Queens Councilman Robert Holden. Many who opposed the ban were affiliated with or worked at upstate farms that provide foie gras to city eateries. “I can assure you that if the mistreatment of ducks was part of our jobs none of us would be here and our farm would be out of business,” Nelson Saravia Jr., a second-generation farmer from La Belle Farm in upstate Sullivan County, told members of the Council. Sean Brooks, the owner of a towing and truck repair business that works with Hudson Valley Fois Gras and La Belle Farms, said the proposed legislation would hurt his business and employees. “The two farms are a huge economic staple for the Sullivan County agriculture region,” he testified. The hearing, which lasted more than five hours, also included the discussion of bills that would make it illegal to declaw cats except in certain circumstances; ban carriage horses from working if the heat index reaches or exceeds 90 degrees; create a Department of Animal Welfare; and require dog owners to show immunization against kennel cough before bringing their four-legged friends into a boarding kennel. All 16 items, which included resolutions, could be voted on at a future meeting. “I am incredibly proud of the pace at which New York City has been advancing animal welfare legislation in recent years,” said Manhattan Councilman Mark Levine, who chairs the Health Committee. By Lisa L. Colangelo firstname.lastname@example.org @lisalcolangelo Lisa joined amNewYork as a staff writer in 2017. She previously worked at the New York Daily News and the Asbury Park Press covering politics, government and general assignment. Share on Facebook Share on Twitter More on this topic These celebrities support PETA's animal rights campaignsNotable celebrities have penned animal rights op-ed pieces (Tim Gunn), stripped down for "Rather Go Naked" campaigns (Wendy Williams) and more. Drag icon Lady Bunny on fur ban: 'We don't need laws for clothing'Lady Bunny is anti-fur, but she doesn't want to tell you what you can't put on your body. The fur flies at City Council hearing on proposed banStyle guru Tim Gunn was among the activists who advocated for the ban on Wednesday. Proposed fur ban stirs up arguments of culture and ethicsWearing fur, a reverend said at a City Hall rally, has long been an important signifier of "dignity and achievement" in the black community. Comments We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.