Animal Rights

California Authorities Prepare to Not Really Bother to Enforce Foie Gras Ban

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We are pleased to offer white toast for $20. The chef may include some additional spreads at his discretion.

Gorge yourself on engorged duck and goose livers while you can, Californians. The state's ban on foie gras takes effect on July 1. After that day, those merciless state authorities, looking to put the boot to the neck of its citizenry as usual, will be going after defiant chefs.

Or, for once, perhaps not. Via Bloomberg:

Producing or selling the engorged livers of force-fed ducks and geese will be prohibited under the law. Some of those responsible for enforcing it, however, have little interest in pursuing chefs who, say, offer it free, perhaps in conjunction with pricey pieces of toast.

"This is not a crime that would be investigated by the LAPD or likely any other municipal police department," Officer Karen Rayner, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Police Department, said in an e-mail. …

Chefs who defy the ban are subject to a $1,000 citation under legislation passed in 2004. Implementation was delayed to give the food industry time to adjust.

"I'm not aware of any plans for us to enforce it," Sergeant Michael Andraychak, a San Francisco Police Department spokesman, said in an interview.

Kathleen Brown, deputy director of the San Francisco Department of Animal Care and Control, which is responsible for animal welfare, said her agency won't issue citations to chefs who give away foie gras as a sample or a bonus to a dish, or who prepare the meat brought in by customers who buy it outside California.

New York movie theater owners might want to take note. If the city moves forward with its soda ban, maybe jack up the price of the popcorn and offer free large sodas with every purchase.

The foie gras ban drove at least one business to relocate from the state to Nevada, according to Bloomberg. Mirepoix USA, an online foie gras dealer, relocated to Reno, but the move still puts them in a good position to sell to ritzy Lake Tahoe restaurants (or rather to ritzy Lake Tahoe residents who can then bring the foie gras in to chefs to cook for them).

The ban, based on animal rights activists' beliefs that the force-feeding hurts the waterfowl (which producers say is simply not true), will cause at least one business to shut its doors:

At Sonoma Foie Gras, based in Farmington, California, owner Guillermo Gonzalez said he plans to close his business this month.

"The effect of the ban is the closing of a successful family business that for over 25 years has provided the highest quality duck products with utmost respect to animal husbandry practices," Gonzalez said in an e-mailed response to questions.

"For the time being, we are going to reflect and consider our next steps," Gonzalez said. "If foie gras falls, it will set a dangerous precedent for animal agriculture and beyond. It will show that a powerful minority has the ability to impose its beliefs on us all."

Below, Reason.tv spoke with people on both sides of the foie gras ban in January:

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111 responses to “California Authorities Prepare to Not Really Bother to Enforce Foie Gras Ban

  1. I still think I can make a pretty good living as a foie gras mule.

    1. So you’d smuggle it in condoms stuffed up your ass? Do you really think your customers would like that?

      1. No, you dress them as chickens. Duh!

      2. Condoms! That’s what I forgot. No wonder my first few test runs were such a disaster.

        1. Hey! This foie gras tastes like shit!

        2. Okay, I write “LOL” at times that I really don’t LOL, but I really did LOL on this one. I got a few looks from a couple of folks in the office.

        3. No disaster Hugh. You would be surprised at what gourmands will eat if properly pitched and presented.

          1. Elzar: Here you are, big spender. Foie gras and caviar.

            Dr. Zoidberg: [sniffs it] Goose liver? Fish eggs? Feh! Where’s the goose? Where’s the fish?

            Elzar: Hey, that’s what rich people eat, the garbage parts of the food.

            Dr. Zoidberg: I ate garbage yesterday, and it didn’t cost me 300 dollars. I’m not paying! I bid you good day, sir!

            1. “What a clever impersonation of a stupid poor person!”

              1. “You’re never too rich to enjoy a free turkey dog.”

                1. What’s this? Two meals in one week?

  2. So is this guy going for like some world record of Nanny-of-the-year?

  3. Here’s a link to a radio interview with the owners/chefs of “Animal”, an LA restaurant that trafficks heavily in fois gras.

  4. I honestly have to say that I won’t live somewhere that I can’t have foie gras.

  5. The ban… will cause at least one business to shut its doors

    This is how government creates jobs.

    1. Well -someone- has to show up to shoot his dog and kick him out.

  6. The report I listened to last weekend said that LA County Sheriff’s Dept. was going to handle enforcement locally. Also, some bitch from (PETA/Humane Society???) of San Diego said that they were going to be diligent, and would assist San Diego area LEA’s in enforcement.

    My body, my choice. As long as my choice is approved by liberal fascists.

    1. I just know that if some PETA bitch shows up at a restaurant I’m eating at and tries to steal my food, she *will* be slapped.

      That is all.

  7. The ban, based on animal rights activists’ beliefs that the force-feeding hurts the waterfowl (which producers say is simply not true)…

    I have a feeling it is not the force feeding that hurts, at least not as much as the killing does.

    1. but the force-feeding makes them so uncomfortable that death is welcome release. Or something like that. Much as activists try to humanize animals, I could see such an argument being made.

    2. I once saw a video of a flock of geese getting forcefed. When the farmer steps into the pen and gets mobbed by all the geese fighting over who gets to be forcefed first, it’s pretty obvious it can’t be that much suffering involved.

  8. Well, maybe LAPD won’t be enforcing the ban, but I’m sure the County and State Departments of Health SWAT teams will be rolling on this.

  9. To get back to the warning that I received. You may take it with however many grains of salt that you wish. That the brown lettuce that is circulating around us isn’t too good. It is suggested that you stay away from that. Of course it’s your own salad. So be my guest, but please be advised that there is a warning on that one, ok?

  10. Can’t the nannies rework this with the excuse that they’re battling a goose obesity epidemic?

  11. Yeah, they probably won’t be enforcing it any time soon, so go ahead, chefs. No worries, it’s not enforced.

    They probably won’t storm in out of the blue one day changing their minds and smacking you with $16,000 in fines because of all the foie gras they found.

    And you won’t probably have to pay it, anyway. You just certainly will.

    The question you have to ask yourself is, are you feelin’ lucky punk?

    1. Out of the blue? Or from an anonymous tip (where my brother-in-law happens to own a competing restaurant)?

  12. If the animals are being made to suffer, then the government should intervene.

    If animals are not being made to suffer, then the government should leave it alone.

    This goes for fra gra [sic], lobster tanks, fish nuggets — whatever.

    In all cases, there should be fair warning and a chance to cure before enforcement.

    If there is some dispute over whether the animals are suffering, the matter should be decided by an impartial adjudicator — judge, jury.

    This is basic, simple stuff. To the extent anyone wants to insinuate a “liberty interest” in causing animals suffering because they are “only property,” that person should not be taken seriously.

    1. You make the rest of us suffer by spewing your specious blather, Gabe. Should the government intervene?

      1. Epi, I am fully aware that my torment of you constitutes an aggravated case of zoosadism. I can only hope the authorities are not making my crime an enforcement priority.

    2. I took a look at the video and it didn’t look like the birds were suffering. They were captive for a few seconds, fed and then shook it off like my cat shakes after I scratch under his ears. Or maybe I should have the full weight of the state come down on me for scratching under my cat’s ears.

      1. You keep a cat as a slave?

        1. You keep a cat as a slave?

          Warty signal??

        2. You misunderstand. I am the cat’s slave.

          1. You misunderstand. I am the cat’s slave.

            As the owner of two cats, I understand purrfectly.

          2. and that is the difference between cats and dogs.

        3. No cat anywhere is a slave. You have fundamentally misunderstood the relationship that domestic cats have with their humans. Yes, I am owned and abused by three feline serial killers. *sobs and runs away*

    3. If the animals are being made to suffer, then the government should intervene.

      Assertion without evidence.

      To the extent anyone wants to insinuate a “liberty interest” in causing animals suffering because they are “only property,” that person should not be taken seriously.

      Why? Are animals something distinct from property? If you can sell, buy, kill, eat, and trade animals, what distinguishes them from property again?

      1. The voices in Gabe’s head distinguishes them, why can’t you? You you dumber than the voices in Gabe’s head? I guess you are.

        1. Exactly. I have a “conscience” — a ‘voice in the head’ in SugarFree’s Dexter-like psychopathic idiom — that distinguishes between right and wrong and that is able to apprehend the suffering of living creatures.

          People like SugarFree lack this conscience — an internal ‘voice’ — and thus they are nothing but a threat and a common enemy to everyone else, and should be dealt with as such by the law.

        2. Exactly. I have a “conscience” — a ‘voice in the head’ in SugarFree’s Dexter-like psychopathic idiom — that distinguishes between right and wrong and that is able to apprehend the suffering of living creatures.

          People like SugarFree lack this conscience — an internal ‘voice’ — and thus they are nothing but a threat and a common enemy to everyone else, and should be dealt with as such by the law.

          1. Post it a few more times, asswipe.

            1. That happened despite my best efforts to fix a glitch in my browser hanging up the “submit” button.

              If you can get the attention of the supposed ‘moderator’ of this recently-registration-requiring site to delete the duplicate, I would be obliged. So far, I have not seen one single thing done by the moderator.

              HELLO! IS ANYBODY THERE? ANYBODY???

              1. the law, right or wrong, recognizes a difference between animals and other kinds of property

                i can’t be prosecuted for being cruel to my tv set.

                or my toaster.

                you can be prosecuted for being cruel to (most) animals.

                here in WA, it is entirely legal to kill your pet. if you live in an open shoot area, you can walk it out to the backyard and shoot it in the head.

                no crime. and yes, i received a complaint from a neighbor about a guy who did this (turned out his dog was terminal anyway, but under the law he needed no JUSTIFICATION to kill the animal.)

                entirely legally as long as done “humanely”

                but torture an animal/cause undue sufferign etc. and that is a prosecutable crime

                again, you can argue it should not be a crime, but it IS one

                the law distinguishes between animals and other forms of property

      2. My feewings tolded me so.

        1. No, their (animals’) feelings told me so.

          Animals are capable of suffering, which distinguishes them from mere inert objects, so they can, and should, be protected from the infliction of suffering in a way that does not apply, morally or logically, to mere inert objects.

      3. The assertion does not require “evidence.” It follows from the ‘self-evident’ proposition that animals suffer and that suffering should not be gratuitously inflicted.

        If you fail to understand that animals can suffer, or that it is wrong to cause animals to suffer, or that animals differ from inert objects in this critical sense, then you are uneducable and unworthy of participation in debate.

        1. … suffering should not be gratuitously inflicted.

          It is not gratuitous. It is purposeful, and noble. It is so I can eat food.

          1. You can eat an animal even if its liver is normal-sized.

            1. You can eat an animal even if its liver is normal-sized.

              Are you saying you aren’t against eating the animal (which involves killing it), but are against force-feeding it first?

              1. i’m not against eating animals, but i am against CERTAIN “factory farming” practices that i think are cruel.

                that’s why i make the personal choice to buy my beef from a local farm where i know it is treated humanely and killed quickly and humanely.

                one can believe in eating meat, while also believing in not causing undue suffering

                just as many hunters i know won’t take the shot unless they can make a clean kill

                personally, i don’t see evidence that force feeding as to make foie gras IS cruel. that’s the problem with the ban

                and the fact that foie gras is DELICIOUS!!!

        2. If anything that causes suffering is evil, then every animal that eats another animal is evil.

          And any animal that eats a plant is evil, because as soon as it eats that plant, another animal can’t eat it, and goes hungry.

          And any human that eats animals is evil. (I assume you don’t have a problem with that.)

          And any human who eats a plant is evil, both for the reason above and because humans kill large numbers of animals in the course of cultivating, harvesting, transporting, and preparing plants to eat.

          Jainism requires all of existence to be irredeemably evil. If you don’t think all nature and all human life is evil, then it’s NOT self-evident that it is “wrong” to cause animals to suffer.

          1. Life is suffering.

            The origin of suffering is attachment.

          2. “Anything” that causes suffering is not “evil.”

            Humans that have a choice between causing suffering and not causing suffering and who choose the former do something evil.

            1. So you think humans should have the choice to cause or not cause suffering? Then why do you want the government to force that choice?

              1. do you think it should be illegal for a person to put a kitten in a bag and then light the bag on fire so they can film the suffering of the animal and kill it slowly as it burns to death?

                this is not a hypothetical. one of my coworkers investigated such a case. and i’m happy to say the fuckstick got some real incarceration. he was a juvie and it would take like 4 auto thefts to get him the kind of time he got.

                of course he’ll probably end up a serial killer/rapist/torturer and we’d do better just to exterminate his worthless life right now, but he has rights and shit

                1. Re: Dunphy

                  Talking about agricultural processes, not the wanton torture of animals. Thanks for finding an extreme outlier, though.

                  1. i was speaking as a matter of principle

                    i am trying to clarify if you, and /or others think there are behaviors towards animals that should be illegal, or if animals are PURELY property, in which case – no

                    imo, and i would assume you agree, they are not “purely” property in that you recognize a duty not to cause certain extremes of harm to an animal

                    just trying to clarify.

                    personally, i think foie gras is fine

                    1. Fair enough. I don’t think it it is morally right to torture your family pet. It’s repugnant. But, I’m not sure there should be laws against it. Pets, animals are personal property, and can be treated accordingly.

                      Farm animals should not be tortured either. But fattened up for slaughter, hell yeah. I don’t think feeding, even forced feeding, animals is inhumane. Nor is it torture.

                      In general, I think animal torture is extremely rare. I don’t think laws prevent people from torturing animals.

                    2. ok, we can disagree. i think it’s good we have laws against cruelty to animals, and i have personally gotten immense satisfaction in assisting in such investigations.

                      we may somewhat agree on where the line should be drawn with farm animals, etc.

                      causality issues aside, it’s amazing how often serial killers and seriously fucked up torture rapists etc. STARTED with animal torture as a kid. it really is the gateway offense for scumbag sadists.

                      we can disagree on the laws issue, because i think it’s a very good thing we have laws against animal torture.

                    3. I get where you are coming from. And this is the reason that libertarianism will never catch on. Torturing a cat for sick pleasure is completely disgusting and deplorable. However, I don’t think it is the role of government to make and prosecute laws regarding animal cruelty. Animals are personal property. And can be treated as such. Harsh, I know.

                      Until I get a better argument then references to serial killers, or being called names, I will file this one under “personal property”.

                    4. “In general, I think animal torture is extremely rare. I don’t think laws prevent people from torturing animals.”

                      **************************

                      Could you be more blatantly wrong? Torture of animals is one of the most salient indicia of future criminal psychopathy.

                      Just shut your retarded hole, already. You are an embarrassment.

                    5. Him widdle feewings are hurted.

                      First, dipshit, this is a discussion about fois gras, and some bullshit legislation. You can’t argue the issues at hand so you want to talk about the “salient indica of future criminal psychopathy”? Then you call me retarded and an embarrassment. You were the one who introduced a separate argument. On top of that, you never even addressed that animal torture is extremely rare. You are not good at this, and not worth engaging. Stay classy.

    4. When humans are the cause of the suffering, or in every case of animal suffering?

      1. The law traditionally concerns itself with human transgressions, and I see no reason animal cruelty laws should differ. It is the infliction of cruelty by humans that concerns our laws.

        1. Actually, no it isn’t.

          Human laws are about the protection of human beings and their property.

          The law isn’t about “transgressions BY humans”. It’s about “trangressions AGAINST humans”.

          1. Simply wrong. Humans can transgress by, say, starting a forest fire that affects no other human. But no animal is going to be held legally responsible for starting a forest fire.

            1. Forest fires affects humans. Forests are real property. People own property. Forest fires destroy property, even if doesn’t physically harm someone. Try again.

              1. Even starting a fire on unincorporated land, or an uninhabited island, can be a transgression.

                What is your point, anyway? The law protects more than human beings and their property. It protects common resources, animals included. There are hunting licenses and fishing licenses that control the taking of wild animals as food and game.

                You are stuck in a spiral of mindless defiance, with no substantive point to make. Quit while you are behind.

                1. Why is it a transgression? It is a transgression because it harms the property of an individual. Even common resources, including unincorporated land, or uninhabited land is owned by someone. It is a transgression because it harms someone’s real property.

                  You are stuck in a spiral of mindless defiance, with no substantive point to make. Quit while you are behind.

                  Fallacious argument.

        2. Life is suffering.

          The origin of suffering is attachment.

          The cessation of suffering is attainable.

    5. If the animals are being made to suffer, then the government should intervene.

      What for?

      PS This is simple stuff.

      1. To prevent the animal from suffering. QED.

  13. I just watched the video and the APRL guy just let loose with a whopper of a non sequitur…he said that this is a product that no one thinks should be consumed outside of a few chefs and promoters.

    So who’s consuming it? Chefs and promoters?

      1. You are a right-wing extremist, and are therefore a double-plus unperson.

        1. Your liver’s next.

          1. Will the end be something like this?

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aclS1pGHp8o

      1. Now where to get some fava beans and a khee-ahhhn-tee

        1. Given Mary’s allegations of high rates of psychiatric disorders, don’t you think that meal would be contraindicated for most Hit and Runners?

          1. Only if they are taking MAOI’s.

      2. Fois gras is people!

  14. “This is not a crime that would be investigated by the LAPD or likely any other municipal police department,”

    Unless, of course, any of those chefs are political enemies of anyone within government or too many of those chefs start doing it and someone realizes they can stave off financial Armageddon for a few more months. And so on.

    And wow, I just noticed the part I quoted actually says “some”

    1. Correction: the part I didn’t quote because it was the article’s other rather than LEO.

      1. Ugh, “author” not “other.” Though, by ridiculing his article, I am othering him.

        1. Maybe you should start over… 🙂

        2. Next time, try breaking the Prozac in half. 😉

  15. More prosecutorial discretion. Look at all those qualifiers: “Some of those responsible for enforcing it, however, have little interest . . . . etc.

    I’m sure that will be very comforting to those restaurants that are prosecuted.

    If the animals are being made to suffer, then the government should intervene.

    You know, there is animal suffering involved even in producing whatever it is that vegans eat. Farming of any kind causes animal suffering, I can assure you, as someone who has worked on a farm.

    1. Yes, but those animals aren’t being consumed by people, RC. Plus, there is that pesky EPA and the DOA…

      1. Yes, but those animals aren’t being consumed by people, RC.

        See, this is the crap that irritates the hell out of me, and I have been vegetarian for 20+ years. If you don’t think animals should be eaten, don’t eat them. Pretty fucking simple.

        Same with anything else you don’t think should happen; don’t like smoking, don’t smoke. Don’t like drugs or alcohol, don’t do drugs or alcohol. Don’t like gay marriage, don’t get gay married. But don’t be a dick and think your the one with all the fucking answers and you know best, because you don’t.

        /soapbox

        1. *you’re*

        2. The part I can’t get at all is vegetarians who are doing it because they’re trying to limit the market for meat/help the environment but then throw away food if it has meat in it. That animal isn’t coming back and by throwing the whole meal away to get something else you’re actually using more resources.

          1. I agree with you. I never order or consume foods with meat in it, so I don’t have that issue. I really don’t care what the market for meat is or if it helps the environment. It is a moral issue for me, but I don’t have a right to impose it on someone else.

            1. your club has very few members unfortunately.

      2. It’s like the Puritans all over again, GM. As we were reminded, they didn’t oppose bear-baiting because it tormented an animal, but because it gave pleasure to the spectators.

        1. That reminds me of the first dirty joke I ever heard (told to me by my Ma):

          Why don’t Baptists have sex standing up?

          Because someone might think they’re dancing!

  16. While I hate laws like this, I don’t agree with this open non-enforcement thing that goes on.

    What this really means is that the law will be enforced selectively.

    Restaurants that find themselves in the crosshairs of someone with an axe to grind, those whose owners run afoul of some other selectively enforced law, or those restaurants that garner publicity because of some stance they took may all find themselves cited for this.

    When the police basically state that they won’t be enforcing the law and they do it a few times, I think it acts as enabling behavior for all the little petty tyrants.
    They can enact all sorts of garbage and defend it by saying “hey, the cops won’t enforce it anyway”.

    Now instead of the legislature deciding what’s illegal and the police enforcing those decisions, we have the legislature declaring thing illegal and the police then modifying them into quasi-legal status with the decision about legal vs illegal effectively being made by the police. This is the true definition of police state.

    You can do whatever you want OR rigidly follow the law and be fine until you piss off the police, at which point they will dig into the 5000 page rule book and find something to nail you with.

    1. Of course. That’s the point.

      1. exactly. reminds me of WA state’s C felony poker ban, where the head of the gaming commission openly said they didn’t intend to ENFORCE it (unless somebody made a big public stink about it)

        they even tried to force the local newspaper to stop printing a poker advice column that gave links to gambling sites. they were promptly and correctly shot down on first amendment grounds, but the chutzpah of the gambling cops is really something to behold

    2. the law will be enforced selectively

      that’s known as a feature, not a bug.

    3. To make the same response in a slightly different way: this statute, like most, is intended to be broken, not obeyed.

  17. Every animal dies. But humans are the only animals who can die at home, in comfort, doped up to the gills and surrounded by loving family.

    Every other animal dies horribly, with its guts hanging out of a predator’s mouth, or of disease, or starvation, or in a collision with my 2001 Caravan.

    If offered the option of getting stuffed to the gills with food every day before being humanely killed at a farm, every duck would quack, “sign me up.”

    1. But not every animal truly lives.

  18. They can have my foie gras when they pry it out of my warm greasy fingers…

  19. I just realized: its been far too long since I had any foie gras.

  20. personally, i buy my beef from a farm in enumclaw. i know it is humanely killed and raised. it’s also grass fed, and thus tastier and more nutritious.

    i am against the foie gras ban, but i think people should make reasonable efforts not to be cruel to animals. by choosing where our meat comes from, and the method of killing and raising, we can decrease cruelty and suffering

    those are good things

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