California Wants to Shut Down Foie Gras Again

California Wants to Shut Down Foie Gras Again
Attorney General Kamala Harris via aSILVA/Flickr

State Attorney General Kamala Harris is planning to appeal a U.S. District Court ruling that allowed foie gras, the duck and goose liver delicacy, to be served at high-end eateries despite the will of California's legislature.

An animal-rights-inspired foie gras ban was signed by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2004, but it contained language that denied its potency for eight years.

In January the U.S. District Court in San Francisco overturned the prohibition, saying that only the federal government had the authority to say yes or no to foie gras, via the Poultry Products Inspection Act.

The leader of ban supporter Mercy for Animals calls the ruling "bizarre and erroneous." The organization says the district court erred in considering foie gras to be an ingredient instead of the result of what it says is force-feeding animals in order to produce marketable liver.

The group, of course, is happy that Harris is going to bat for the state's will. The organization said in a statement that there is "inherent cruelty and violence" associated with foie gras production.

Nathan Runkle, Mercy For Animals’ founder and president:

California Wants to Shut Down Foie Gras Again
Anne Fishbein/L.A. Weekly

Foie gras is the product of horrific cruelty to animals. Mercy For Animals commends attorney general Kamala Harris for her decision to defend this important law and protect animals from being tortured for foie gras. In a civilized society, it is our moral obligation to protect all animals, including ducks and other farmed animals, from needless cruelty and violence.

The group claims that, at one California foie gras producer ...

 ... ducks are quickly and violently grabbed by workers who shove metal pipes down the animals’ throats in order to force-feed them. This process causes ducks’ livers to become diseased and swell up to 10 times their normal size. Violently force-feeding birds to induce a state of disease is egregiously cruel and has no place in a civilized society.

Many of California's top chefs, however, derided the ban as a global embarrassment and sign that a nanny state has taken over California governance. 

Many top restaurants celebrated the district court ruling last month by happily offering foie gras specials.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow L.A. Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.


Sponsor Content

Newsletters

All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories
    Send:

Newsletters

All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >