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California to Reinstate Ban on Foie Gras

Circuit Court Judge Harry Pregerson made an emotional plea during last week's hearing on the issue to ban the sale of cruelly begotten duck livers.

A hearing regarding the legality of the sale of foie gras—inflamed goose or duck liver obtained through force-feeding the animal—was held Wednesday in California. The state first enacted a ban on the sale of foie gras in 2012 but overturned the law in 2015 on the grounds that regulating food ingredients is a federal matter under the Poultry Products Inspection Act. United States Circuit Judge Harry Pregerson argued that foie gras production is a cruel practice and, as such, the ban of the animal product should be reinstated. “Are there any other situations we know of where the food is rammed down the throat of the creature?” Pregerson asked the appellate panel during Wednesday’s hearing. “Rammed down. You hold its neck up and just force it right down so that their liver blows.” Pregerson’s position was upheld by several fellow judges, including Jacqueline Nguyen and John Owens. “Do you think the duck enjoys that?” Pregerson continued. “I think it’s absolutely cruel. The people don’t agree with it. They think it’s fine to do that so they can have their foie gras.” While the appellate panel has yet to issue a written decision on the matter, Courthouse News correspondent Helen Christophi believes foie gras will be made illegal in California based on the strong opinions expressed during Wednesday’s hearing.

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