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California nears ban on some foie gras

Lawmakers in California have taken another step toward a ban on some types of foie gras. Some animal activists decry the force-feeding of ducks and geese often used to make the delicacy.
/ Source: Reuters

Force-feeding of ducks and geese to make foie gras, a delicacy to some and an outrage to others, is a step closer to being outlawed in California after the state senate's passage of a bill on Tuesday.

The bill proposed by John Burton, the state Senate's top Democrat, would also ban the sale of foie gras made from the enlarged livers of force-fed geese and ducks.

The bill, passed on a vote of 21-14, now goes to the California Assembly, where one lawmaker has also proposed a bill to ban farm-raised salmon in the state.

Only one farm in California currently produces foie gras. If Burton's bill becomes law, it would become effective in seven and a half years and would impose fines of $1,000 for force-feeding birds in foie gras production.

Foie gras from the livers of birds fed normally would not be affected by the bill.

"It's the process not the product we're after," said Dave Sebeck, Burton's spokesman.

Foie gras has become controversial in recent years in California despite the state's reputation for fine cuisine.

Animal rights activists have made foie gras production one of their most visible causes, seeking a ban in California to its production and sale. Vandals last summer trashed a Sonoma County restaurant north of San Francisco and threatened its co-owner at his home for serving foie gras.