Skip to main content
Please enter a legal issue and/or a location
Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select

Find a Lawyer

More Options

Foie Gras Ban Back in Effect After SCOTUS Denies Review

By William Vogeler, Esq. on January 08, 2019 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

If you are a fan of foie gras, you aren't going to like this decision from the U.S. Supreme Court.

The High Court rejected a challenge to California's ban on the delicacy. The state law went into effect in 2012, and the U.S. Ninth Circuit upheld it.

If you are a fan of humane treatment of animals, the decision should be good news. That's because foie gras is made from the livers of duck and geese that have been force-fed.

Force-Fed Birds

The foie gras process makes the birds' livers swell up to 10 times their normal size. In 2017, the Ninth Circuit said that's against the law in California.

"It is not the livers that are force-fed, it is the birds," Judge Jacqueline Nguyen wrote for the appeals court. "The difference between foie gras produced with force-fed birds and foie gras produced with non-force-fed birds is not one of ingredient. Rather, the difference is in the treatment of the birds while alive."

The Association des Eleveurs de Canards et d'Oies du Quebec, a Canadian nonprofit that represents duck and goose farmers, appealed the decision along with other fois gras producers. It was the plaintiffs' second trip to the Supreme Court in the case, and their second loss there.

By rejecting their latest petition, the High Court left intact the Ninth Circuit ruling and the California ban.

Fat Livers

In French, foie gras means "fatty liver." Producers make it by forcing corn down the throats of ducks and geese.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals say it causes the birds to develop "hepatic lipidosis, commonly known as 'fatty liver disease.'"

The California law, enacted in 2004, bans any product created by "force feeding a bird for the purpose of enlarging the bird's liver beyond a normal size."

Related Resources:

You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help

Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.

Or contact an attorney near you:
Copied to clipboard