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Takoma Park's Latest Stand: Foie Gras

Takoma Park's elected leaders are taking a stand against foie gras, the fatty goose liver and French delicacy.

At the urging of Mayor Bruce Williams, the City Council unanimously approved a resolution last week opposing "the production and sale of foie gras" and encouraging residents "to avoid supporting this extreme form of animal cruelty."

Animal rights groups oppose the production because it involves force-feeding ducks and geese with a pipe down their throats. More than a dozen countries and the state of California have banned the production and sale of foie gras, according to Compassion Over Killing, a nonprofit group.

Foie gras is not produced in Takoma Park or anywhere in Maryland for that matter, but it is served in swank restaurants and sold in specialty shops. A proposal in this year's General Assembly to ban the sale of foie gras was opposed by chefs who defended the delicacy as safe and humane. The measure never made it out of a Senate committee.

Williams said the council is considering going a step further and banning stores and restaurants within Takoma Park's borders from stocking foie gras. He acknowledged said that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to stop residents from bringing it across the border to consume in their homes. He has already heard from one fan of foie gras who said she plans to continue serving the delicacy to her guests.

"We knew some people would say, 'Why are you wasting time doing this?'." Williams said. His answer: "It's important to educate folks about the humane treatment of animals."

The council passed a resolution earlier urging stores to supply and residents to buy eggs only from cage-free chickens.

By Phyllis Jordan  |  July 9, 2008; 1:01 PM ET
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Alcohol kills far more people than geese. Takoma Park should ban the consumption of alcohol within its boundaries.

Posted by: Dry Takoma | July 9, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Chicago tried this and failed. The fact is that humanly raised geese harvested for fois gras is no less inhumane than any other animal bred for consumption.

There are some less-than-wonderful producers, but that said, have you ever seen commerical beef, pig or chicken farming facilities? They're absolutely disgusting.

Does Takoma Park even have any restaurants that serve fois gras? It seems like more of a fried chicken and BBQ type of town.

Posted by: Liz | July 9, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

I live in Takoma Park and I am just embarrassed by the trivial garbage that my elected officials spend my tax dollars on. The Washington Post should ask why this little city is spending its money on poetry in the bathroom. There was a time when I was proud to live in a city that supported immigrants' rights, opposed war, etc. But now I just feel embarrassed by the trivia. I support disincorporation of this stupid city.

Posted by: Takoma Parker | July 9, 2008 6:02 PM | Report abuse

I'm really proud of the Mayor and the TP's high time someone stood up for the rights of my duck brothers and sisters. Now, if we could help our june bug cousins and wipe out the scourge of bug about some bad as$ stuff. It's despicable...

Posted by: Daffy Duck | July 9, 2008 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Daffy Duck, don't forget bug spray!

Posted by: Liz | July 9, 2008 10:14 PM | Report abuse

Force feeding a duck to enlarge its liver to 12 times its normal size for an overpriced appetizer is the epitome of cruelty and greed. If there are sadistic sickos out there who think it's okay to do this, a very GOOD use for local government is to put a stop to it! Bans on products of extreme cruelty or irresponsibility are nothing new (ie, dog and cat meat, endangered species, marine mammals, etc...) We're living in a society here, and if it takes a law to stop some sicko from torturing an animal, let's have it...

Posted by: Animal torture ain't cool | July 9, 2008 10:22 PM | Report abuse

The Takoma Park City Council should be applauded for standing up for animals! The practice of force feeding birds to induce liver disease is cruel -- and unnecessary. There is nothing refined about eating the diseased liver of a tortured bird.

I'm proud to leave in a community that demonstrates leadership and compassion by condemning foie gras production.

Posted by: | July 9, 2008 10:47 PM | Report abuse

According to Elie Wiesel, "There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest." Thank you, Mayor Williams and the City Council, for taking a stand against foie gras and the barbaric processes that are involved in its production. Eventually we will catch up to Israel snd the European countries that have banned force feeding.

Posted by: Support from Baltimore | July 10, 2008 12:11 AM | Report abuse

Force-feeding birds until their livers grow to twelve times their normal size isn't a "delicacy" - it's cruelty. I commend the Takoma Park City Council for taking a stand against the inhumanity of foie gras.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2008 12:17 AM | Report abuse

Takoma Park can run their community how they like. Who the hell would want to eat goose liver anyway? Take me to McDonalds instead.

Posted by: Donny | July 10, 2008 7:40 AM | Report abuse

As a proud Takoma Park resident, I applaud Mayor Williams and the Takoma Park city council for opposing the inhumane practice of foie gras. And contrary to a previous post, objecting animal cruelty does not mean focusing on trivia or ignoring human rights issues; a humane, modern and ethical society should -- and can -- take steps to minimize both human and animal suffering. Kudos to cities such as Takoma Park for acknowledging that our broadening ethical framework includes consideration for animals.

Posted by: Jon | July 10, 2008 9:36 AM | Report abuse

The Takoma Park City Council should be applauded for taking a stand against such a horrible form of animal cruelty.

Foie gras is the deliberately diseased liver of a force-fed duck. I doubt many people would want to eat any part of a diseased animal, let alone the diseased organ itself. Even so, the gross animal abuse required to produce it should be sufficient for any diner to leave foie gras off their plates.

Posted by: Paul Shapiro | July 10, 2008 10:09 AM | Report abuse

All you anti-fois people realize that pre-migratory birds actually overfeed and extend their livers naturally, right?

And if you think fois gras farming is inhumane but normal US livestock farming techniques aren't, you're living in a fantasy land. It's fine to decry geese farmers as inhumane as long as you recognize that you also must include commercial chicken (beaks removed, kept in cages too small to move in); pig (kept in their own filth 24 hours a day without the ability to move) and cow (kept in disgusting conditions and moved to slaughter in terrifying, crowded trucks).

Posted by: Liz | July 10, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Kudos to the Takoma Park City Council for taking cruelty to animals seriously.

Foie gras is one of the cruelest meats out there, if not the #1 cruelest.

Birds do not eat larger-than-normal meals as they accumulate energy reserves for migratory flights. Furthermore, the Muscovy duck, from whom most ducks raised for foie gras are derived, does not migrate.

The Scientific Committee on Health and Animal Welfare (SCAHAW), the European Union's most authoritative scientific body on animal welfare, concluded that "force-feeding is...not analogous to the behavioral and physiological process in which pre-migratory birds engage."

There is still much to be done in order to improve animal welfare, particularly the welfare of factory-farmed animals. However, taking a stand against foie gras -- as the Takoma Park City Council has admirably done -- is a great first step. The TKPK Council should be applauded.

Posted by: New Washington Resident | July 10, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

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