The Senate passed a bill yesterday that would ban Oregon restaurants from serving a liver delicacy made by force-feeding ducks. However, restaurant owners would...

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SALEM, Ore. — The Senate passed a bill yesterday that would ban Oregon restaurants from serving a liver delicacy made by force-feeding ducks.

However, restaurant owners would be found in violation only if they knew that the delicacy — called foie gras — is made by force-feeding waterfowl to fatten their livers.

Supporters of the bill said force-feeding birds is cruel and shouldn’t be supported in Oregon. Opponents said it’s ridiculous to make a delicacy illegal and there’s no evidence the technique is harmful.

The bill passed 18-8 and will now move to the House.

Sen. Doug Whitsett, R-Klamath Falls, spoke in support of the bill to the full Senate.

“This cannot, under any standards, be considered good husbandry,” the veterinarian said.

Whitsett said the ducks are fattened to an unhealthy stage that can cause disease and medical problems.

The bill would ban the force-feeding of birds in Oregon. There are three farms in the nation that do that to produce foie gras. None is in Oregon.

The legislation would also make it illegal if someone “sells, offers for sale or delivers one or more food products that the person knows to have been produced in whole or in part by force-feeding a bird.” Violators could be fined $1,000.

For the final two weeks of their lives, a stainless-steel tube is inserted into each duck’s throat twice a day and a measured amount of partially cooked corn is pumped down the esophagus. The technique quickly creates a fatty liver.

Sen. Jeff Kruse, R-Roseburg, said the bill sets up a potential liability for meat distributors and restaurants that serve the delicacy.

But Sen. Joanne Verger, D-Coos Bay, the bill’s sponsor, made an appeal for waterfowl.

“It is inhumane treatment in order to add a little pleasure to your plate,” she said. “I ask you to be kinder, gentler and more considerate to our feathered friends.”