Photo by H. Alexander Talbot, via Munchies
Photo by H. Alexander Talbot, via Munchies

Every year, the country force-feeds approximately 38 millions ducks and geese to provide20,000 tonnes, or 75 percent of the world’s supply, of foie gras. But, as of this week, those staggeringly high production numbers are about to take a hit, as French authorities begin to impose an outright ban of foie gras production in the southwestern part of the country.

France being France, however, it’s not banning foie gras production for the same reasons aseveryone else—namely the practice of shoving food into the bellies of birds with a long, metal tube, which is considered an act of animal cruelty by most animal rights groups.

Instead, the prohibition comes amid reports late last year that the H5N1 virus, which is potentially lethal to both humans and birds, had been found at a chicken farm in the region. As a result, not one ounce of it will be produced in 18 of France’s 101 administrative départments, according to Le Figaro newspaper. And, needless to say, the foie gras ban will have broad repercussions not just for consumers, but producers as well.

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