Foie Gras Legal Again in California: Federal Judge Rules

A federal judge in California struck down the ban on foie gras, making it legal again to eat the duck liver delicacy.

In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson wrote that the law was unconstitutional because it interferes with an existing federal law that regulates poultry products.

An association of producers who supply Canada's foie gras imports to the United States and Hudson Valley Foie Gras, the largest domestic producer, sued in Los Angeles to overturn the law.

Wilson previously rejected an argument brought by duck-farming group that the law was unconstitutional since it apparently regulates the feeding of ducks outside California. Foie gras is the fatty liver of a force-fed duck.

Animal rights groups were angered by the decision and said they're filing an appeal.

"The ruling is plainly in error," said Lisa Franzetta, a spokeswoman for the Animal Legal Defense Fund. "Force feeding is not an 'ingredient' of foie gras for the simple reason that foie gras can be (and is) produced without force feeding.

"The idea that everything that happens to an animal from birth until slaughter is an 'ingredient' of the final meat product is absurd on its face."


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Ingrid Newkirk, the president for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, blasted the ruling.

"Foie gras is French for fat liver, and Fathead is the American word for the shameless chefs who actually need a law to make them stop serving the bloated, near-bursting organ of a cruelly force-fed bird," she said in a statement. "A line will be drawn in the sand outside any restaurant that goes back to serving this 'torture in a tin' and whoever crosses that line identifies with gluttony that cannot control itself even to the point of torturing animals."

Gourmands quickly took to Twitter to celebrate.

"Foie gras ban lifted in CA. It will now become god-popular. Like a band no one cared about until they reunited at Coachella," Troy Johnson ‏ tweeted.

Jordan Harband tweeted: "Our long national nightmare is over! CA court strikes down the foie gras ban!"

City News Service contributed to this report.

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