No Ducking Foie Gras Ban

Ducks are safe in California.  A federal appeals court upheld California’s ban on importation of products made from force feeding birds to enlarge their livers – foie gras in other words.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld California’s ban saying the state did not violate manufacturers’ constitutional due process or commerce clause rights, nor was the law too vague.

To make the foie gras, day-old ducks are raised until full grown, about 13 weeks, for two months they may eat 24-hours a day and in the last two weeks of life hand fed large amounts with tubes down the duck’s esophagus so the liver will store excess fat.  Then they are slaughtered.

HudsonValley and a group of Canadian farmers, who raise Moulard ducks to force feed so their livers will store fat for making foie gras, sued the state after the ban was approved in 2012.

They argued the ban was unconstitutional and sought a restraining order to block its imposition.

The court held that the farmers are only prohibited from selling the liver products and may continue to sell duck breasts, down jackets and other non-liver products from the force-fed birds.

In addition, the farmers may continue to force feed birds to produce foie gras for non-California markets, according to the court.

Case: Association des Eleveurs de Canards v. Harris, No. 12-56822


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