Foie gras can no longer be sold, court says

The Washington Post - - NEWS -

A fed­eral ap­peals court re­in­stated Cal­i­for­nia’s ban on foie gras Friday, find­ing that a state law pre­vent­ing sales of the lux­ury liver pate made by force-feed­ing ducks and geese was not pre­empted by the fed­eral govern­ment’s au­thor­ity to reg­u­late poul­try prod­ucts.

An­i­mal rights ac­tivists and law­mak­ers who pushed the ban through the leg­is­la­ture said the process of fat­ten­ing the liv­ers of the an­i­mals was cruel and in­hu­mane.

Peo­ple for the Eth­i­cal Treat­ment of An­i­mals cel­e­brated the unan­i­mous rul­ing by three judges and said it planned to protest out­side an Her­mosa Beach res­tau­rant that put the del­i­cacy on the menu when it won a rul­ing two years ago from a lower court judge who blocked the ban.

State law­mak­ers voted in 2004 to bar Cal­i­for­nia farm­ers from force-feed­ing birds with a tube, which is how foie gras is pro­duced. That part of the law, phased in over seven years, was not chal­lenged.

But foie gras farm­ers in Canada and New York and Hot’s Kitchen in Her­mosa Beach tar­geted a sec­ond part of the law that banned the del­i­cacy pro­duced out of state from be­ing served in restau­rants or sold in mar­kets, ar­gu­ing that state law was su­per­seded by the fed­eral Poul­try Prod­ucts In­spec­tion Act.

The main ques­tion was whether the state was im­pos­ing its ban on an in­gre­di­ent or a process.

“It is not the liv­ers that are force-fed, it is the birds,” Judge Jac­que­line Nguyen of the ap­peals court wrote.

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