Today, a U.S. District Court judge in Los Angeles overturned the California law—Cal. Health & Safety Code § 25982—prohibiting the sale of foie gras (French for “fatty liver”) produced by cruelly force-feeding ducks or geese to intentionally induce an enlarged, diseased liver. The ruling was based on the judge’s decision that the process of force-feeding is an “ingredient” and thus falls under federal, not state, law.
In 2013, Mercy For Animals conducted an undercover investigation at Hudson Valley Foie Gras, one of the three plaintiffs in the lawsuit that led to this ruling, and used hidden cameras to document the inherent cruelty and violence of foie gras production. The investigation revealed workers violently grabbing ducks and shoving metal pipes down their throats in order to force-feed them. See for yourself:
This disturbing practice causes ducks’ livers to become diseased and swell up to 10 times their normal size. Violently force-feeding birds to induce a state of disease is egregiously cruel and has no place in a civilized society.
The district court’s misguided decision to allow the sale of cruelly produced foie gras in California is a grave miscarriage of justice. The ruling is contrary to both law and common sense, and we are confident the law will be upheld on appeal. The people of California clearly have the right to prohibit the sale of a product that is the result of abject animal abuse. If production practices are now “ingredients” then state laws regulating food safety, workers’ rights, environmental protection, and countless other important issues would be invalidated by this outrageous ruling as well.
Mercy For Animals urges the California Attorney General to immediately appeal the district court’s bizarre and erroneous decision and uphold the will of the people. We are confident that the 9th Circuit will reject the district court’s decision and affirm the validity of this important law to protect animals from being tortured for foie gras.