Chicago resident here. We went through our own foie gras ban (and eventual lifting of the ban). Enforcement of it was pretty difficult; and the whole law sort of became ridiculous.
Anyway, if you eat any type of meat it's hard argue against foie gras. Foie gras ducks are treated no worse than any other domesticated livestock. Of course there's examples of bad foie gras farms, but the same is true with chicken, pigs, cow, etc. I'm not a huge fan of Anthony Bourdain, but his piece on foie gras is pretty excellent.
As Bourdain shows, one of the big problems is that we anthropomorphize animals. But let's stop pretending that they think they're people and be honest: sticking a tube down a duck's throat is completely different than sticking a tube down our throat (unless you happen to work in porn). Don't ignore biology and act like these animals are your cuddly best friends.
Anyway, if you're anti-all meat, I can understand being anti-foie gras. But don't go eating a juicy cheeseburger and then get on [your] high horse when it comes to foie gras.
Then Ipso Facto says:
The examples of animal suffering you cite are significant and all good reasons to go vegan.
Though your claim that the suffering of foie gras birds is "quantifiable and much less" is specious. (Quantifiable? Really? As in, to describe in quanta with standardized "units of suffering"?).
Try making that claim to these birds (and Kate Winslet).
Many foie gras birds are also forced to live in cages too small to even turn around in — it helps with the grotesque fattening.
To produce "foie gras" (which literally means "fatty liver"), workers ram pipes down male ducks' or geese's throats two or three times daily and pump as much as 4 pounds of grain and fat into the animals' stomachs, causing their livers to bloat to up to 10 times their normal size. Many birds have difficulty standing because of their engorged livers, and they may tear out their own feathers and cannibalize each other out of stress.
The birds are kept in tiny wire cages or packed into sheds. On some farms, a single worker may be expected to force-feed 500 birds three times each day. Because of this rush, animals are often treated roughly and left injured and suffering.
A PETA investigation at Hudson Valley Foie Gras in New York (then called "Commonwealth Enterprises") found that so many ducks died when their organs ruptured from overfeeding that workers who killed fewer than 50 birds per month were given a bonus. Many ducks develop foot infections, kidney necrosis, spleen damage, bruised and broken bills, and tumor-like lumps in their throats. One duck had a maggot-infested neck wound so severe that water spilled out of it when he drank.
It's really pretty simple, folks:
Stop exploiting animals. That shouldn't be controversial.