STORE

US Supreme Court asks government to wade in on foie gras controversy

A foie gras dish prepared during a "Farewell Fois Gras" event on June 29, 2012 in Hermosa Beach, California before a state ban on the fatty goose-liver pate first went into effect
AFP

Los Angeles (AFP) – The US Supreme Court on Monday officially asked the US government to state its position on foie gras, the target of a bitter legal battle in California, where a court of appeal renewed a ban on the fatty goose-liver pate in 2017. 

It is customary for the country’s top court to officially request the government to issue a written opinion on issues of importance, since the court’s rulings apply across the country.  

California’s three-judge appeals court ruled last September in favor of activists who have been fighting for years to have the gourmet food banned, arguing that the methods of forcibly fattening geese and ducks to produce the fatty livers is cruel. 

The western state had first passed a law banning the livers in 2004, but it only came into effect in 2012 and was then overturned in 2015, before being reinstated last year.

Foie gras producers and sellers have therefore turned to the Supreme Court for a verdict on the high-end food.

At the demand of the Supreme Court, their arguments will be examined by the US Solicitor General Noel Francisco, after which he will be invited to produce an opinion. 

That conclusion by the fourth-highest-ranking official in the Justice Department will only act as a guideline and will not be binding on a future Supreme Court decision.

.