Foie Gras Green Eggs and Ham?

Posted by Ian Elwood, ALDF's Online Editor on July 12, 2012

Free foie gras, “foie-kage” fees, boycotting California wines–the attempts to shake off the recent foie gras ban in California are reminiscent of the Dr. Seuss story, “Green Eggs and Ham.” But whether you are eating foie gras on a plane, on a train, or on Federal land inside the City of San Francisco, the opportunity to gorge on diseased duck liver has passed.

Yesterday, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Farm Sanctuary, the Humane Society of the United States, the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, and the Marin Humane Society filed a motion to intervene in the lawsuit filed last week by Hot’s Restaurant Group, Canada’s Association des Eleveurs de Canards et d’Oies du Quebec and New York-based producer Hudson Valley Foie Gras, claiming California’s foie gras ban is “unconstitutional, vague and interferes with federal commerce laws.” California’s foie gras ban went into effect on July 1. The groups are also asking the court to reject the foie gras industry’s request to temporarily suspend the law.

ALDF’s filing clarifies that the state’s new law is in no way vague about banning the specific practice of force-feeding of ducks and geese–called “gavage.” The intervention also explains that restaurateurs can easily determine when the product they are purchasing is the result of force-feeding, as gavage causes the birds’ livers to swell to ten times their normal size.

Further, the intervention clarifies that California’s ban does not improperly interfere with interstate and foreign commerce, as the foie gras industry insiders’ lawsuit claims. A similar claim was shot down by the court when Chicago’s foie gras ban was contested several years ago.

The animal protection groups note that their interest in preserving legislation they spent resources supporting gives them standing to intervene in the industry’s lawsuit.

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