Success! Foie Gras is Banned Again in California

Ducks and geese in California can breathe a little easier now that†judges have restored the state’s landmark foie gras ban.

The full ban on the production, importation and sale of foie gras in California went into effect in 2012, and was a huge victory for animals, but it stirred some major controversy.

The ban was originally passed in response to public outcry over the cruel method used to farm ducks and geese who are raised and killed for foie gras. Animal advocates have long argued that its production is unquestionably inhumane and causes intense and needless suffering for birds. Foie gras production involves force-feeding restrained birds by putting a tube down their throats and pumping food directly into their stomachs. The process, which is known as gavage, causes their livers to grow way beyond their normal size, which leads to liver disease that’s formally known as hepatic lipidosis, in addition to causing other health problems.

Despite being unarguably cruel, the ban had been continuously opposed by diners and challenged by chefs and producers. Just days after the law went into effect, restaurants and producers sued to overturn it. The courts ruled against them twice, but in 2015, U.S. District Judge Stephen V Wilson struck down the ban, ruling that it was unconstitutional because it interfered with the Poultry Products Inspection Act, which is a federal law that regulates the sale and distribution of poultry products and stops states from imposing conditions on production.

Some celebrated the news, but activists and animal advocacy organizations vowed to continue efforts to reverse the decision. Nearly 130,000 people signed a Care2 petition calling on state officials to appeal the decision.

Last year, former California Attorney General Kamala Harris filed an appeal to restore the foie gras sales ban. Now, those who have worked to see this cruel product taken off menus are celebrating a major victory.

In a unanimous vote, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled to overturn the lower court’s decision, concluding that the ban was an anti-cruelty measure that didn’t conflict with federal law.

“Nothing in the federal law or its implementing regulations limits a state’s ability to regulate the types of poultry that may be sold for human consumption,” wrote Circuit Judge Jacqueline Nguyen.

The ruling isn’t just good news for ducks and geese used to produce foie gras, it’s a major affirmation of state’s rights to ban products deemed cruel. Although some have vowed to appeal the latest ruling, it’s hoped the ban will be kept in place and will save the lives of thousands of birds who are tortured to make foie gras.

“Foie gras is the result of immense suffering,” said ALDF Executive Director Stephen Wells. “The Animal Legal Defense Fund hopes that today’s decision is the death knell for foie gras industry’s long crusade against California’s law.”


Photo credit: Thinkstock


natasha p
.12 days ago


JACQUI GLYDE16 days ago

These sick individuals who like to chomp on diseased liver,should go & watch how it is all processed.Maybe then they might see the light,maybe!!

Peggy B
Peggy Babout a month ago

Great news.

heather g
heather g4 months ago

Cruel practises are never acceptable.

Jennifer H
Jennifer H4 months ago

Just hope it sticks this time.

Angela K
Angela K4 months ago


Telica R
Telica R5 months ago

Thanks for sharing

Julie D
Julie D5 months ago


Adele E Zimmermann
Adele E Zimmermann5 months ago

A truly civilized society does not condone the torture of animals. That includes the animals we consume. Our factory farm systems are abhorrent. If we must eat our fellow creatures, there is no need to subject them to cruelty before we do. Instead of evolving past a violent and vicious beginning, Homo Sapiens seems to have gone backward. Foie Gras is a case in point. So-called gourmets will not die without it, but countless ducks and geese will be tortured to death to meet the demand. Hooray for the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals!

Terri S
Terri S5 months ago

Fantastic!!! It would be interesting to see how many restaurants/chefs die because they can't torture ducks and geese!!