Gourmands Rejoice (And Geese Beware)! Foie Gras Is Now Legal Again In California

Foie Gras, the much-beloved (by chefs and gourmands) and much-derided (by animal-rights activists) delicacy, is now back on the menu in California restaurants, thanks to a judge overturning a 2004 law that banned the sale of the delicacy.

Foie Gras (pronounced “fwah grah”) is a sort of paste made from the liver of geese or ducks. It’s made by force-feeding the birds to swell their livers to unnatural sizes, a process that animal-rights activists deem cruelty to animals, according to The San Diego Union Tribune.

Chefs and gourmands, however, consider it a prized delicacy that belongs on the menu of any restaurant worth its Michelin stars.

The California Foie Gras ban was signed into law in 2004 at the urging of animal rights activists, but wasn’t to take effect until 2012, according to The Wall Street Journal. This gave chefs about seven years to remove Foie Gras from their menus – something that many were loathe to do, to say the least.

In overturning the California Foie Gras ban, Judge Stephen V. Wilson argued that the federal government’s authority to regulate poultry production superseded that of the State of California’s. In his ruling, which can be seen here, he also noted that the plaintiffs – that is, those who had sued to have the ban overturned – suffered economic harm from the ban.

Now that the California Foie Gras ban is lifted, chefs all across the Golden State are racing each other to get it back on their menus the fastest. Chef Chad White of Común Kitchen & Tavern in San Diego boasted via Twitter that he’d sold out of Foie Gras in minutes.

Whether or not the production of Foie Gras is cruel is a matter that’s hotly debated. Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, for example, has said that the production of Foie Gras is no more cruel than routine meat production.

Gawker writer Hamilton Nolan, however, regards the production of Foie Gras as an unspeakable act of cruelty against animals in a piece entitled Foie Gras Is For A******s.

“Foie gras is made by force feeding birds until their livers swell up. It is the Abu Ghraib of poultry dishes. Many people believe that eating any sort of meat is immoral, because you have to kill an animal to do it. I am not even arguing that position in this blog post. I am arguing the much more modest position that you should not torture your food before you eat it.”

Do you believe that producing, selling, and eating Foie Gras is immoral? Sound off in the Comments below.

[Image courtesy of: Best Tour Paris]