Md. restaurateurs fight foie gras ban bill

ANNAPOLIS Md. Maryland Restaurant Association officials expressed hopes during a state Senate hearing on Tuesday that a proposed statewide ban on the sale of foie gras would be killed before the legislation is put to a vote on March 11.

If the bill passes, Maryland would become the first state to put into effect a ban on the sale, production and transport of foie gras. The law would go into effect later this year. In 2004, California outlawed the production and and sale of the delicacy, but the measure does not take effect until 2012. The sale of foie gras is already prohibited in Chicago.

The proposed ban on foie gras, a liver delicacy activists say is produced by force-feeding geese and ducks, initially had the support of some of Maryland’s most powerful politicians, who had expressed ethical concerns after reportedly being pressured by animal activists groups.

Ryan Schnepp, government liaison for the Maryland Restaurant Association, said: “Anytime animal rights are involved, it’s emotional on both sides. No one wants animals treated cruelly. We’ve been meeting with the lawmakers to explain our [position]. They were completely oblivious to our side because animal activists had been showing them videos from Canadian and French farms that didn’t even depict how foie gras is made in the United States.”

Schnepp added that local politicians claimed they were unaware the bill would “also ban the transport and sale of [foie gras]. They thought it only covered production, but foie gras isn’t even produced in Maryland; it’s made in New York and California.”

Adecision is expected either later this week or early next week, Schnepp said.