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 pre-empted by federal authority to regulate poultry products.
The ban was passed more than a decade ago after proponents said the process of fattening the livers of the birds was cruel and inhumane. The law took effect in 2011, but was blocked by a court in 2015, delighting chefs who wanted to serve the delicacy and leading to protests by animal rights groups.
While the unanimous decision by three judges won’t immediately take effect, giving farmers and a restaurant time to seek further review, animal activists celebrated.
“The champagne corks are popping,” said David Perle of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. “PETA has protested against this practice for years, showing videos of geese being force-fed that no one but the most callous chefs could stomach and revealing that foie gras is torture on toast.”
State lawmakers voted in 2004 to bar California farmers from force-feeding birds with a tube, which is how foie gras (fwah-GRAH’), 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 foie gras produced out of state from being served in restaurants or sold in markets.