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Do You Think Foie Gras Should Be Banned?

The Supreme Court declined to review California's ban of the delicacy. Here's where else force feeding animals is illegal.

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The Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of a decision upholding California's ban on foie gras on Tuesday.


The rejection leaves the lower court's ruling and underlying ban in place. The move is a success for animal rights activists and a setback for restaurants and foie gras producers.

French for "fatty liver," foie gras is a delicacy made using enlarged livers of force-fed ducks or geese. Below is one example of this process.

The Humane Society / Via

Tubes are often inserted into the animal's throat, and they are fed repeatedly until their livers swell up, sometimes up to 10 times their usual size, as seen in this video from the Humane Society of the United States.

Restaurants and foie gras producers in California filed an appeal to challenge last year's ruling that resulted in a ban, according to a Reuters report.


A dozen countries and California have banned force feeding animals. Chicago briefly had a ban before it was repealed in 2008.

"The Supreme Court’s decision means that the people of California have the right to prohibit the sale of certain food items, solely because they are the product of animal cruelty," Paul Shapiro, vice president of farm animal protection for the Humane Society, tells BuzzFeed.

"The holding in this case – that States have the right to cleanse their markets of cruel products — is a precedent of enormous consequence for millions of animals."


In Spain, two farm owners, Eduardo Sousa and Diego Labourdette, say they make ethical foie gras for Sousa & Labourdette.

Sousa & Labourdette / Via

The law doesn't prohibit the importation of foie gras, meaning a farmer in another country can technically still sell it in California. Per their site's description of their process:

When autumn comes round the geese begin to feed intensively, gorging day and night, in preparation for a migration journey. The animals are captured during the night by dazzling them with powerful lights and foie gras is harvested.