After the City of Chicago overturned its ill-conceived and executed ban on the sale of foie gras in 2008, I thought that the battle to maintain the tiny American foie gras industry had taken a turn in our favor.
The principal and most formidable institutional opponent of the industry, the Humane Society of the United States - also known by the asthma inducing acronym HSUS- merely changed its tactics by under emphasizing guerrilla actions and protests that only made their members and proxies look silly (at best) and like terrorists (in some instances they were). Instead, HSUS has been concentrating on legal challenges, not to the perfectly legal and humane animal husbandry practices that I witnessed at Hudson Valley Farms , but to tangential things like waste treatment operations.
HSUS even tried (and failed) to get Hudson Valley foie gras banned as unsafe in New York by claiming that it was an "adulterated" food.
Anyway, it turns out that even if HSUS with its annual budget of well over $100 million fails to win a single case against Hudson Valley the cumulative effect of having to spend and estimated $50,000 per month defending itself might put them out of business.
Look, if I never eat foie gras again, I wouldn't care. I like the stuff but I could easily live without it. And I know that there are duck farms where animals have been routinely mistreated. But it makes me mad when a farm that takes the kind of care that I saw being delivered at Hudson Valley ends up having to pay for the abuses meted out by other farmers.
Here is a great, if depressing, piece by Thomas Rogers at Salon.com on the troubles at Hudson Valley.
Last gasp for American foie gras? - Salon.com