A federal judge in Los Angeles today rejected a bid to overturn the state's recently enacted ban on the sale of foie gras, the delicacy prepared from the force-feeding of ducks and geese.
The law banning the production and sale of foie gras—French for "fat liver"—and its byproducts went into effect July 1. A restaurant caught serving the gourmet item in California can be fined up to $1,000.
In a brief hearing, U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson rejected an argument brought by a Canadian duck-farming trade organization that the law is unconstitutional since it apparently regulates the feeding of ducks outside California.
Attorney Michael Tenenbaum, who filed the federal civil suit against the state, Attorney General Kamala Harris and Gov. Jerry Brown, said he would appeal to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Hot's Restaurant Group—which operates eateries in Hermosa Beach and Northridge—along with the Canadian duck-farming trade organization Association des Eleveurs de Canards et d'Oies du Quebec and New York-based producer Hudson Valley Foie Gras contend the statewide ban is "unconstitutional, vague and interferes with federal commerce laws."
Tenenbaum said his clients alone are losing at least $15,000 each day as a result of the law.
Foie gras is usually produced through a process in which ducks or geese are force-fed corn through tubes inserted in their throats, a practice seen as inhumane by animal rights activists.
Animal lovers crusaded against force feeding, persuading the Legislature to outlaw the practice, which effectively banned the delicacy in the state.