Thursday, March 15, 2007


Foie Gras production was banned in Israel in 2005, ostensibly to stop the "suffering" of the geese used in its production. Now the ones who are suffering are the farmers who lost their jobs.

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports that a group of 45 farms has filed a lawsuit against the Agriculture Ministry demanding 90 million shekels ($22 million) in damages for being forced out of business. The farmers argue that prior to the ban the government encouraged them to invest heavily in their industry, believing it to be a great export opportunity for the nation, and then left them out to dry after the ban took effect. Rather than pay outright compensation, the farmers say that government initially said it would assist them in transitioning to other products to make up for the lost business. Looks like that plan worked about as well as efforts to get Afghan opium farmers to switch to legal crops. Unfortunately for the Israeli farmers, they aren't interested in break the law and are now unemployed.

FoieBlog sees this as a cautionary tale for politicians in all nations who would try to ban Foie Gras production without considering the full impact of their actions. Anti-Foie Gras bills are usually no more than fashionable cause celebs, and politicians offhandedly vote in favor of them to score easy brownie points with the world of the wishy washy. But while localized bans in cities like Chicago probably won't put too many people out of work, statewide or national restrictions could affect a wide swath of industries in the food distribution chain - from farmers to wholesale food distributors. That means people out of work and less taxes in the state's coffers - things that one day can come back to bite you. You'll just have to take your chances that that day isn't election day.

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