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Could CA's Foie Gras Ban Go National?

By Edward Tan, JD on May 16, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Some famous California chefs have taken to the street, or rather the kitchen, to fight the state's upcoming foie gras ban.

Several high-profile chefs have held foie gras events at their restaurants, CBS Los Angeles reports. They showcased special menus featuring the soon-to-be-outlawed ingredient. However, animal rights activists haven't found their actions amusing. Many have fought back by protesting outside some of the restaurants.

The law banning foie gras goes into effect on July 1 in California. But could it also be the spark needed to set off a national trend?

It might be. Though California was the first state to ban foie gras back in 2004, its history with the controversial ingredient goes back even further. The state's former governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, signed the latest bill into law following intense lobbying from animal activists. Foie gras itself has been a point of much contention in the food world.

French for "fat liver," foie gras is made by force-feeding corn and other food to ducks or geese. Once their livers are fattened, the birds are slaughtered and the organs are harvested.

Animal rights activists find the practice cruel because typically it requires inserting a long pipe down a bird's throat in order to feed it. The intake causes the animal's liver to swell up to 10 times its normal size.

While California is the first state to ban the product, Chicago attempted to prohibit it before in 2006. However, the city's law lacked public support and it was eventually repealed about two years later, The New York Times reports.

It remains to be seen whether California's law will be enough of a catalyst to get other states to start banning foie gras. However, as the recent legislation against school bullying has shown, all it takes is one state and others may soon follow.

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