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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, February 8, 2010

Legislation banning foie gras advances through committee

Associated Press

Foie gras, a popular delicacy in French cuisine, may soon be banned in Hawai'i.

A bill that would forbid the sales and distribution of foie gras passed last week in the Water, Land, Agriculture and Hawaiian Affairs Committee.

Animal-rights activists are in favor of Senate Bill 2170, saying the practice of fattening the livers of ducks and geese by force-feeding the birds through a metal tube or pipe placed into their throats, should be banned.

"I am appalled that it is even necessary to file a complaint about considering it legal to torture fowl by force-feeding it for the purpose of destroying its liver to make a more exotic, appetizing food," said Sylvan Schwab of the East Maui Animal Refuge in testimony for the bill.

But some local food enthusiasts oppose the bill.

Edward T. Morita, a food blogger and former pastry chef, said that during a visit to a foie gras farm, he did not see any cruel treatment.

"Ducks and geese don't have a gag reflex, so it doesn't bother them at all," Morita said.

The bill now goes to the Judiciary Committee for further discussion.

If approved and signed into law, violators would be hit with a $10,000 fine

California, which accounts for about half of U.S. foie gras production, has a ban on the method that will go in effect in 2012.