The foie gras ban in California continues after six years of court battles. Earlier this week the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would not hear a challenge to the state’s 2004 ban on the production and sale of foie gras, leaving the 2017 ruling untouched.
Foie gras, which means “fatty liver”, is butter-rich duck or goose liver that has been especially fattened, and is a popular delicacy in French cuisine. Traditionally, it is seared and made into pate, however, to produce the luxury food product, ducks and geese are force-fed through a process called “gavage.”
Ducks are force-fed by inserting a tube into the birds’ throats and pouring grain into it. Animal rights groups oppose this process because they consider it to be extreme cruel.
California originally passed the foie gras ban 15 years ago, but the state delayed enforcement until 2012. The state’s only foie gras producer was forced to close under the ruling, but some restaurants continued to serve the delicacy and claimed that they were giving it away to patrons.
Eventually, groups like the Coalition for Humane and Ethical Farming Standards and dozens of chefs started to support an effort to overturn the ban, and this lead to six years of a legal back-and-forth.
U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson ruled in 2015 that the ban violated the federal Poultry Products Inspections Act, which allowed foie gras to be temporarily placed on restaurant menus. However, the California state attorney general appealed the ruling and two years later the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed Wilson’s ruling.
The court did put a stay on the ban so that the plaintiffs in the case — two foie gras producers (from out of state) and a Los Angeles restaurant group — could petition the US Supreme Court to hear the case.
“We are absolutely thrilled that the Supreme Court has denied the foie gras industry’s petition to hear the case, and that will allow the Ninth Circuit’s ruling upholding the law’s constitutionality to go into effect, hopefully today,” said Kelsey Eberly, staff attorney at the Animal Legal Defense Fund.
However, this may not be the end of California’s foie gras battle as the chef’s coalition said they would attempt to challenge the ban in federal court, but failed to mention on what grounds.
Via SF Gate
Image via takedarhs