California cannot seem to make up its mind whether or not to ban foie gras — a delicacy that is produced by force-feeding ducks to enlarge their livers — and now some of California’s top chefs are in full revolt against the liberal establishment that is often their clientèle.
The original law, signed in 2004 by then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, made it illegal for a person to “force feed a bird for the purpose of enlarging its liver” beyond normal size or to hire anyone else to do it. It also forbade the sale of any product in California that is the result of force feeding a bird.
In 2015, foie gras farmers succeeded in having the ban declared unconstitutional by arguing in court that the federal Poultry Products Inspection Act superseded state law, and prevented states from imposing labeling, packaging or ingredient requirements that differ from federal standards.
Jazz Shaw from Hot Air notes that another round of litigation started when “[t]his month yet another court weighed in and said the ban was constitutional and could go back into effect … at least until it was immediately appealed yet again. (Did I really need to tell you that it was a panel from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals?)”
But the appellate judge made it clear in her ruling earlier this month that the law applied to the birds, not just the process, according to a story by the local Los Angeles CBS affiliate (CBS 2 News):
“It is not the livers that are force-fed, it is the birds,” Judge Jacqueline Nguyen of the appeals court wrote. “The difference between foie gras produced with force-fed birds and foie gras produced with non-force-fed birds is not one of ingredient. Rather, the difference is in the treatment of the birds while alive.”
While animal rights activists like PETA’s David Perle were celebrating the latest ruling, GrubStreet.com reports that California chefs from Santa Monica to Napa Valley went off, “sound[ing] like what NRA members always say about their guns — i.e., ‘if you want it, you’ll have to pry it from their cold, dead hands.'”
The challengers — which include plaintiffs from both California and New York — have two weeks to ask a larger Ninth Circuit panel to review Friday’s ruling.