Philadelphia Council Man Tries for Ban on Foie Gras

A city councilman who believes foie gras is a form of cruelty to birds introduced legislation Thursday that would ban the sale of the delicacy in Philadelphia.

Councilman Jack Kelly's proposed ordinance comes on the heels of a similar prohibition adopted by the Chicago City Council last month.

Foie gras, which means "fat liver" in French and is pronounced "fwah GRAH," is created by force-feeding birds — usually ducks or geese — until their livers are several times the normal size.

"Force-feeding birds to make an expensive appetizer is cruel and unnecessary, and it should not be condoned in our society," Kelly said in a statement.

The measure was supported by the Farm Sanctuary, a farm animal protection organization based in Watkins Glen, New York.

Some Philadelphia-area restaurateurs have already stated their opposition to Kelly's legislation. Joel Assouline of Assouline & Ting, who supplies foie gras to about 400 restaurants, has said a ban would force him to lay off five or six of about 25 employees.

More than a dozen countries, mostly in Europe, have banned foie gras production. Several states have considered the measure, and California will end the force-feeding of birds to produce the gourmet product by 2012.

Kelly's bill, if approved, would take effect 90 days after its passage.