Must We Say Au Revoir to Foie Gras?

Legislation passed on Friday bans foie gras from menus in California

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After years of seesawing legislature and ardent dispute for and against, foie gras is once again banned in California. Following Friday’s ruling, where a unanimous three-panel court voted to uphold the 2004 verdict, supporters of the gourmet liver have two weeks to appeal.

This isn’t the first time foie gras aficionados have had to fight against the ban. Back in 2015, C.H.E.F.S. (The Coalition of Humane and Ethical Farming Standards) united in Sacramento to protest the order and push for new legislation that would ensure better farming practices and procedures for procuring the delicacy.

Restaurants hold steadfast to highlighting this classic cuisine and continue to incorporate it into their menus.

“Foie Gras remains legal to buy, sell and enjoy, at least for now,” Cathy Kennedy of C.H.E.F.S. said.

It seems, for now, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have their victory. Years of protest and videos showing ducks and geese being force fed have resulted in a controversial win.

“Foie gras is torture on toast and unimaginably cruel,” PETA President Ingrid Newkirk said in a statement. Adding that, with the win, “the champagne bottles are popping.”

Chefs around the nation say they’re ready to fight this to the end.

“The ruling is disappointing, the reasoning is flawed,” attorney Michael Tenenbaum said to The Times. “Federal law is supreme when it comes to poultry products, whether it’s foie gras or frozen chicken breasts.”

The initial Legislation, passed almost a decade ago, found the force feeding “cruel and inhumane,” but allowed for a seven-year delay so that producers of the delicacy could devise a different procedure for creating foie gras. Supporters of foie gras seek to uphold the production and consumption of classic cuisine while upholding innovative farming standards.

“Don’t eat it if you don’t want to, but don’t impede on anyone’s rights to do what they want to do,” Chef Eric Greenspan said. “Foie gras is one of those things to me that connects classic food to modern food and it’s been going on for so long and such a part of so many great classic cuisines that it will be missed.”

Many chefs and proprietors, even non foie fans around the country have reacted in frustration and will push back. What ban is next, bacon? Government shouldn’t be able to rule what we eat. Next, we will first appeal to a larger 9th Circuit panel and if that fails, to the Supreme Court.

“We will appeal,” Marcus Henley, the manager at Hudson Valley Foie Gras in New York, said in an email to The Times. “This process may take months. Until this appeal is completed, the law and the ban are not implemented and foie gras is legal to sell and serve in California.”

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