Supreme Court Keeps California Foie Gras Ban Intact

Image: Foie Gras
A serving of salt-cured fresh foie gras with herbs.M. SPENCER GREEN / AP

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a challenge to California's ban on foie gras, a win for animal rights activists and a blow to producers and consumers of the delicacy. The high court declined to hear an appeal filed by restaurants and foie gras producers in California, New York and Canada, leaving a 2013 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling upholding the law intact.

Foie gras — which translates to "fatty liver" in French — is made by force-feeding ducks and geese through a tube until their livers grow enlarged enough to harvest the livers into gourmet food. Animal welfare groups say the process is inhumane. The California law bars farmers from force-feeding birds "for the purpose of enlarging the bird's liver beyond a normal size."

Last year, the ban was challenged by Hot's Restaurant Group, based in Los Angeles, Canada's Association des Eleveurs de Canards et d'Oies du Quebec, and Hudson Valley Foie Gras in New York. They argued that the law is in violation of the U.S. Constitution's Commerce Clause, which prohibits interference with interstate commerce. That argument was rejected by the 9th Circuit.


— Elizabeth Chuck

Reuters contributed to this report.