Court won’t rehear challenge to foie gras ban

Attention California gastronomes: A federal appeals court refused Monday to re-hear a challenge to California’s law banning the force-feeding of fowl to produce foie gras, thus ending the case unless the U.S. Supreme Court decides to weigh in.

foie grasFoie gras is the liver of a duck or goose that has been fattened beyond normal growth, usually by force-feeding that’s considered cruel by animal advocates. California’s law – passed by legislators and signed into law by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2004 – gave producers years to prepare for the force-feeding ban before it took effect in mid-2012.

A group of foie gras producers and a California restaurant group sued two days after the law took effect, but a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling in August that upheld a lower court’s decision that the plaintiffs failed to raise any serious questions about their rights under the new law, and that the law was within the state’s authority to enact.

That panel refused Monday to rehear the case, and no 9th Circuit judge has voted that the case be heard “en banc” by a larger, 11-judge panel.

The Humane Society reports more than a dozen countries, including the United Kingdom, Denmark, Finland, Germany and Israel, either have banned force feeding for foie gras production or have interpreted it as illegal under existing anti-cruelty laws.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Merde.

  • RRSenileColumnist

    The less threatening, the more handsome, the more cuddly creatures always win. What about Man’s cruelty to squid, its destruction of whole insect populations? (Spare honeybees, pretty butterflies and a few other favored species) Except for the creatures humanized by Disney features, youth of my era were accustomed to movies depicting humble animals mutating into giant maneaters, vicious reptiles chewing on helpless humans. No sentimentality in the Hollywood of those days! But now California does more for farm animals than farm owners.