Judge overturns California's foie gras ban

by Erica Shaffer
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The practice of force-feeding ducks and geese has been controversial.

LOS ANGELES – A US District Court judge found California's foie gras ban unconstitutional, ending the state's two-year ban on the delicacy.

California legislators passed the ban in 2004, but the law didn't take effect until 2012. On Jan. 6, US District Court Judge Stephen Wilson sided with pro-foie gras groups that argued the legislation was vague and conflicted with federal interstate commerce laws.

Foie gras has been a source of controversy because it is produced by force feeding geese and ducks to create fatty livers. Animal welfare groups labeled the practice as inhumane.

“California lawmakers conducted a serious-minded debate about farm animal welfare in 2004, passing a bill to phase out the cruel force-feeding of ducks and the sale of foie gras if it comes from that inhumane process,” said Wayne Pacelle, president of The Humane Society of the United States. “The state clearly has the right to ban the sale of the products of animal cruelty, and we expect the 9th Circuit will uphold this law, as it did in the previous round of litigation. Force feeding is not an ‘ingredient’ of foie gras since foie gras can be produced without resorting to such cruel methods. We are asking the California Attorney General to appeal the ruling.”

The San Francisco Chronicle reported the state attorney general's office is reviewing the ruling. An appeal is possible.

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