FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NYC’s Sales Ban Violates Section 305-a of N.Y. Agriculture and Markets Law which Protects Farms Against Unreasonable regulations
Sullivan County, New York – May 23, 2022 – Hudson Valley duck farmers, organized as the Catskill Foie Gras Collective, filed suit today against New York City challenging its ban on the sale of the delicacy, foie gras, which will go into effect on November 25, 2022.
The Collective asserts that the sales ban violates a state law, Agriculture and Markets Law § 305-a, which prohibits municipalities, like the City, from adopting local laws that unreasonably restrict farming operations in certified agricultural districts.
As a practical matter, the sales ban will wipe-out millions of dollars in revenue for the State, New York City, restaurants, wholesale distributors, retail store owners, and transportation companies. The Collective predicts that over 100 farm workers in Sullivan County will lose their jobs.
The Collective also notes that, if allowed to stand, the NYC law will set a dangerous precedent allowing local legislative bodies to effectively control or eliminate other farming practices in agricultural districts.
“Today, it’s foie gras, a gourmet delicacy thousands of New York City residents enjoy,” said Marcus Henley, a spokesperson for the Foie Gras Collective. “Tomorrow it could be chicken eggs that aren’t raised cage-free. Or milk-fed veal or non-organic fruit. Do you really want a small group of special-interest lobbyists controlling what you can and can’t have for dinner? This ban creates a nightmarish precedent for farmers and consumers alike.”
The Collective is also seeking a preliminary injunction to postpone the ban until the courts can determine its legality. Otherwise, the Collective may be forced to halt its weekly shipments of duck products into the City.
“This is the kind of law that puts people out of work, and farmers out of business, and we are asking the court to maintain the status quo until the lawsuit is resolved.” said Henley.
“The sales ban is not only groundless and unconstitutional, it also clearly violates a state law which was enacted to protect farmers from local acts like this,” said Henley. “We’re confident that the courts will see it this way and that the city’s top chefs and their guests will continue to enjoy our foie gras products.”
Advocates for the sales ban included animal rights groups, who notoriously misrepresented how foie gras is produced and claimed that ducks are treated inhumanely during the production process. Hudson Valley Foie Gras and La Belle Farms maintain that their ducks are well cared for, are allowed to roam freely, and are processed in a government-inspected facility, strictly adhering to animal welfare and federal regulations. Both farms produce foie gras using a special hand-feeding method, like no other farm in the world, so as not to harm the ducks.
“We invite everyone who cares about freedom to make some noise. Write their legislators, write their newspaper editors, voice their concern to restaurant owners,” urges Henley. “Don’t allow a small group of well-funded lobbyists dictate what you can and can’t chose to eat. If we don’t win this case, who knows what the next food ban will entail.”
About Catskill Foie Gras Collective:
The Catskill Foie Gras Collective is comprised of Hudson Valley Foie Gras and La Belle Farm, the main producers of foie gras to restaurants and retail food stores. The collective serves as a resource for factual information and independent articles about our farming. For more information, visit: https://foiegrasfacts.org/
Source: Catskill Foie Gras Collective