Sorry, fans of the deliciously fatty foie gras, but the U.S Supreme Court upheld the California ban on foie gras in a case that’s been bouncing through the courts for more than ten years.
Those who were in California when the foie gras ban kicked in back in 2012 remember a funny time of last-minute foie gras specials before the ban, secret, underground foie gras dinners once the ban went into effect, and restaurants pulling some social media snark on the animal-rights activists, throughout the process. And yes, the fatty, fancy delicacy foie gras is delicious, but certainly there are some ethical issues with force-feeding ducks and geese witth 10- to 12-inch tube which makes their livers grow to ten times their normal size, hence the 2012 California ban. (Amusingly, the Presidio Club was able to keep serving foie gras because it is on federal land and therefore exempt, so they started selling foie gras sliders.)
That ban was struck down in 2015, though that un-banning of foie gras was appealed (then-state AG Kamala Harris argued the appeal) and that case eventually went to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, who eventually ruled that California could prohibit in-state foie gras sales. That decision went to the Supreme Court too, and the Chronicle reports the court declined to hear the case, effectively upholding the California foie gras ban.
Or as CNN cleverly puts it, “Supreme Court ducks fight over foie gras, leaving California ban in place.”
Foie gras industry attorney Michael Tenenbaum did not mince words in his legal filings, saying that it was “impossible to produce and sell a poultry product in compliance with both state and federal law,” and that foie gras was “perhaps the most maligned and misunderstood food in the world.”
The government of France also pitched in with a legal filing, saying foie gras is “part of the cultural and gastronomic heritage protected in France,” and the California ban was “an assault on French culture and tradition.”
But supporters of the ban also got in some pretty clever statements. Humane Society of the U.S. attorney Rebecca Cary said in a statement that “Today’s decision, upholding a long-standing law that passed overwhelmingly, means this niche industry can no longer force its cruelty down the throats of Californians.”
Image: Charles Haynes via Wikimedia Commons