Judge denies effort to stop California foie gras ban

A federal judge on Wednesday denied an attempt by a group of foie gras producers and restaurants to temporarily stall a recently instituted ban on the fatty delicacy.

U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson in Los Angeles turned down the request from North America’s largest foie gras producers and Hot's Restaurant Group Inc. of Southern California, which say they are losing $11,000 a day in revenue.

The California law, which was signed in 2004 but took effect July 1, prohibits the production and sale of items derived from force-fed ducks and geese. Violators face fines of as much as $1,000 a day.

As soon as the ban went into effect, the foie gras group filed a lawsuit challenging its constitutionality and arguing that the edict was far too vague. Wilson decided that the case must be worked out in court; he set a hearing date for Aug. 29.

“No amount of legal maneuvering will change the fact that shoving pipes down birds’ throats to force them to consume vastly more than they would otherwise is grossly inhumane and unacceptable to the people of California,” Jonathan Lovvorn, senior vice president of animal protection litigation for the Humane Society of the United States, said in a statement.


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