Appeals court takes foie gras off the menu in California

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A federal appeals court reinstated California's ban on foie gras Friday, finding that a state law preventing sales of the luxury liver pate made by force-feeding ducks and geese was not pre-empted by the federal government's authority to regulate poultry products.

Foie gras could soon be banned in California - again.

It's the latest development in a contentious legal battle between animal activists and poultry producers. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated a foie gras ban.

Producers of the pricey delicacy said they're going to fight this new ruling and the appeals process could take months. Chefs who spoke with Eyewitness News said they'll keep serving duck liver until the ban is official.

Chef Gary Arabia, of GC Marketplace, had just heard the news.

"Quite frankly I'm not happy about it and neither are my guests," he said.

The ruling overturns a decision by another court that argued the ban violates the Federal Poultry Products Inspection Act. Animal rights group PETA calls the delicacy "torture on toast."

"(Ducks) have tubes rammed down their throats and often piercing through their necks so they can't even drink water without it falling through the holes," PETA campaign specialist Matt Bruce said.

Typically, the geese and ducks are force fed through a rod. Through this process, the liver expands up to 10 times their normal size.

"PETA is confident that California will hold their ground and make sure that foie gras cruelty will not stand in this state," Bruce said.

But producers of the delicacy said they're already working on an appeal. It's a move that Arabia fully supports.

"You can get it all over the world. We should be able to serve it here and enjoy it in California," he said.

If the groups continue this legal battle through the appeals process, it could even make its way up to the Supreme Court. At this point, people can still order foie gras.

Related Topics:
foodanimal rightsPETAcourtanimal crueltyCalifornia
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