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Judge Rejects Bid to Overturn Ban on Foie Gras

Photo of a foie dish at Petrossian in 2010 by foodforfel via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr
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Fans of foie gras, this news isn't so delicious: A federal judge in Los Angeles has rejected a bid to overturn the statewide ban on the sale of fattened goose and duck liver. The foie gras ban, passed in 2004 but not enforced until July 1 of this year, imposes a fine of up to $1,000 on restaurants caught serving the French-style delicacy.

In a brief hearing Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson rejected an argument brought by a Canadian duck-farming trade organization that the law is unconstitutional since it apparently regulates the feeding of ducks outside California, according to City News Service.

The federal civil lawsuit was filed immediately after the ban went into effect this summer, and now the lawyer who brought the suit against the state, Attorney General Kamala Harris, and Governor Jerry Brown, says he would appeal to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Attorney Michael Tenenbaum represents clients including a restaurant group that operates locations in Southern California, as well as the Association des Eleveurs de Canards et d'Oies du Quebec and New York-based producer Hudson Valley Foie Gras. He says his clients alone lose thousands of dollars a day as a result of the ban.

Animal rights advocates have long protested foie gras, claiming the force feeding of the ducks and geese to "fatten" their livers is cruel and inhumane.

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We've found that a few purveyors are risking the fine or have found themselves a legal loophole, which means foie gras is still being sold in some places in Los Angeles and around the state.