Brazil’s Largest City Says Au Revoir to Foie Gras

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Legislators in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the country’s largest city, recently voted to ban the production and sale of foie gras, a so-called “delicacy” made from the diseased livers of ducks and geese.  The law will go into effect in August.

As noted by Sao Paulo City Councilman Laercio Benko, the author of the law, “Foie gras is an appetizer for the wealthy. It does not benefit human health and to make it, the birds are submitted to a lot of suffering.”

Foie gras – French for “fatty liver” – is produced by force-feeding ducks and geese (shoving a pipe down their throats and pumping food into their stomachs) until their livers swell up to ten times normal size, inducing a disease in the birds called hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver).

Guilherme Carvalho, one of the directors of the Brazilian Vegetarian Society hailed the new law as a “major accomplishment” adding that “the next step will certainly be the expansion of the ban to the rest of Brazil.”

Sao Paulo’s decision puts this city in good company.  More than a dozen countries, including the Argentina, UK, Germany, Turkey, and Israel, have already banned the practice of force-feeding due its inherent cruelty.

In the US, California is currently the only state that has banned the sale and production of foie gras, though that law, which went into effect in 2012, is being challenged. It was overturned in a District Court earlier this year, and the CA State Attorney promptly filed an appeal in an effort to keep the foie gras production and sales ban in effect.

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