A California ban on foie gras that went into effect in 2012 has been overturned, ensuring that Californians no longer have to live in the dystopian world that a lack of fatty duck liver would have created.
You’ve been so strong, how did you keep your head up through this dark time?
Judge Steven Wilson made his ruling based on the existence of a federal law that he said the state ban attempted to supersede. The Poultry Products Inspections Act, which regulates the sale and distribution of poultry products including foie gras, would trump state legislation. Except for one tiny detail in that the Poultry Products Inspections Act doesn’t cover animal feeding practices … which is the entire point of a ban on foie gras.
Foie gras is produced using a process known as “gavage,” wherein a long metal tube is forced down the throat of a duck (or a goose) and a fatty corn mixture is pumped in, sometimes as much as four pounds of it, three times per day. This is done 12-18 days prior to slaughter in an effort to make the liver swell to approximately 10-12 times it’s natural size. Birds that undergo this process suffer lacerations and infections in their esophagus from the force feedings and a liver that becomes so enlarged many of them have trouble walking.
Not to be all graphic, but you kinda have to see it to believe that this is what we’re fighting over the right to do … what?
They can’t talk so it’s mere conjecture here, but anyone whose had inflammation in their liver would agree, it probably smarts a bit too when an internal organ gets blown up like a party balloon. Just sayin.
To their credit, many chefs in the state took to Twitter to celebrate their relief at such a painful personal personal struggle coming to an end for them. While it’s preliminary, several movie deals are in potential talks to document the years of darkness they toiled through at what is quickly coming to be known as the “duck-less age.”
Way to fight the good fight guys. #heros.
Well, haters (or haterz if ur kewl) is one way to put it. We prefer to call it rational, but whatevs. You see, there’s no one on the planet that doesn’t desire delicious food. We’ve yet to meet a person who insists that they prefer something flavorless, boring or gross. The fact is, there are PLENTY of those things in existence that don’t require pushing an animal’s body to the breaking point in order to get it onto our plates.
Let’s be perfectly clear, foie gras isn’t a necessity for human survival, which makes the extremes the animals are put through in its production even more unnecessary. It’s a novelty item, a product of utter inconsequence in daily life, and yet it has somehow become the holy grail of gastronomic decadence merely because people don’t like being told that making a bird’s liver explode is pushing things a little far.
Swollen, diseased, bird liver? That sounds kinda gross. Wait, I can’t have it? Try to rip it from my cold dead hands!
Animal rights groups, such as Farm Sanctuary, are certain that the state will appeal the decision and ask that the ban be left in place while all of the legal wrangling is sorted out. While a ban is a necessary step (it’s currently prohibited in Argentina, Israel, India and parts of Europe), an important take away from this entire situation is that money talks. If this product wasn’t profitable to the people currently fighting tooth and nail for the right to spread it on a cracker, there would be no problem.
Restaurants that serve this dish and chefs that praise it need to be made aware that this product has no place on their menus with our dollars. As long as people are patronizing their establishments, cash in hand, to buy it this will continue to be an issue. Continuing to spread the word about what this product is will be the best way to ensure it finds it’s way into obscurity. Where it belongs.
Lead Image Credit: Jay/Flickr