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.