California’s foie gras ban is back. The state first banned foie gras in 2004, but that ban has not been enforced for some time, as the pro- and anti-foie gras sides have been fighting in court. Now the anti-foie gras side has won a big victory, as a federal appeals court just overturned a 2015 ruling that struck down the ban. Now a lot of chefs are furious and animal rights activists are celebrating, and foie gras producers say the fight is far from over.
Foie gras is the liver of a duck or goose that has been fattened by force-feeding with a feeding tube. California first banned it in 2004 on the grounds that producing it was inhumane. At the time, the legislature allowed a seven-year grace period for foie gras producers to figure out a more humane way to produce it. The ban went into effect in 2012, but was struck down in 2015 when an appeals court ruled that the state ban conflicted with federal law.
“Nothing in the federal law or its implementing regulations limits a state’s ability to regulate the types of poultry that may be sold for human consumption,” wrote Circuit Judge Jacqueline Nguyen in the unanimous decision.
The California foie gras fight is not over, though.
“They made a mistake,” Marcus Henley, manager of foie gras producer Hudson Valley, said to Reuters. “This law has always been unconstitutional and incorrect in its basis. We won’t be stopping.”
Henley said they plan to appeal the ruling, and that the law won’t be enforced as long as appeals are ongoing. That means that even though foie gras is one of many foods banned around the world for reasons both sane and silly, chefs in California can still use foie gras for the time being.