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Foie Gras Ban is… Unconstitutional?!

Foie Gras Ban is… Unconstitutional?!

 

In 2004, animal rights activists applauded the first-in-the-nation ban on foie gras in the state of California. And nearly 8 years later, the ban on the production and sale of the French delicacy has finally gone into effect. But not without controversy.

Foie gras, french for fat liver, is produced by force-feeding geese or ducks far more food than they would eat both in the wild and domesticated. The large, fatty livers that geese and ducks experience as a result of over-eating cause a number of serious health consequences in the birds.

The California law, aimed at these inhumane production methods, bans all products made from force-feeding birds. Now, a New York-based foie gras producer, a Los Angeles restauranteur and a Canadian exporter are seeking to overturn the law. They filed suit against the state of California under the claim that the law violates the Constitution’s commerce clause.

According to the plaintiffs, the wording of the law is so vague because it, “defines ‘force feeding’ as using a process that causes a bird ‘to consume more food than a typical bird of the same species would consume voluntarily.’ In practice, the vagueness of this purported standard makes it impossible for anyone to know at what point a particular bird has been fed ‘more food’ than the Bird Feeding Law allows.”

So, will this lawsuit be successful? Only time will tell. For now, though, plaintiffs’ lawyer also plans to file an injunction that would halt the law while the matter is sorted out in U.S. district court.

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Katie Waldeck

Katie is a freelance writer focused on pets, food and women’s issues. A Chicago native and longtime resident of the Pacific Northwest, Katie now lives in Oakland, California.

94 comments

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6:04PM PST on Feb 25, 2014

Mmmmm, I think I'm seeing through these "very concerned parties", I trust the judge does as well.

Bottom line is being humane is getting in the way of their bottom lines.

7:42AM PDT on Oct 7, 2013

Anyone who can pretend that the geese are anything but force fed - which, after all is what engorges the livers so producing foie gras in the first place, is seriously sick in the head. I can only hope that those wanting this barbaric and horrific trade revived, which sees the birds stomach ripped open to access the liver whilst the bird is still alive but helpless, themselves suffer from liver disease and an untimely end. Reap what you sow....

11:46AM PDT on May 14, 2013

if a person wants to eat foie gras, first they should be made to endure what those poor geese have to endure, they must have a tube shoved down their throat and force fed lots of rice, pasta, bread, plenty of carbs, till their huge, sick and overweight. only then can the ignorant assholes have their foie gras. hope they choke to death on it - just rewards.

6:37AM PDT on Oct 8, 2012

How could anyone ingest such food knowing how it was prepared. This is shameful, unethical and unnecessary.

10:03PM PDT on Aug 2, 2012

You have GOT to be kidding me!! This is ridiculous. Anyone who supports/eats foie gras is sick. This is pure animal cruelty.

7:57AM PDT on Jul 27, 2012

The health issues that ensue do not really matter since the liver gets removed from the animals. I tell you what should be banned:
- Mc Donalds and all these terrible " food" chains ( what they sell has nothing to do with food and they destroy the hopes to open a small food business)
- advertising and selling all this junk like coca cola, mars bars, reconstituted anything and animals that have been fed something they would not eat (sewage, other animals...)
- fruit and veg out of season.
The French have banned ketchup from school lunches so children would learn to appreciate the flavour of their food. Now, that gives me hope. As a chef and cafe manager, I have banned all these sauces restaurant only give to hide the fact that their food is tasteless and not fresh. Green star to me!

5:32PM PDT on Jul 16, 2012

Foie gras must be banned everywhere in the world. It is inhumane to give so much sufferings to those innocent birds!This has to stop now!

10:16AM PDT on Jul 16, 2012

It is Unfortunate that we cannot force feed the Cheifs that use it.
Everyone that uses it and or Eats this should get an Enlarged Fatty Liver so they can feel what it feels like

4:50AM PDT on Jul 16, 2012

If all animals were given rights, nobody would be saying that the torture and murder of them is unconstitutional...

4:18PM PDT on Jul 11, 2012

The draconian and cruel suffering that ducks and geese go through should be enough information to tell anyone with all their wits about them, that foie gras has to go! Foie gras should be eliminated from ALL menus all over the world. Permanently. Further, foie gras should not be consumed by anyone on the planet, EVER! WHAT'S UNCONSTITUTIONAL IS CRUEL, UNCONSCIONABLE SAVAGERY brought upon the ducks and geese! Shame on all of you to think otherwise.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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I like grape juice, epsom salt baths and spinach. I don't eat nuts or fish.

Thanks for sharing.

A delightful and meaningful friendship.

nice article. informative. thanks

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