California

Foie Gras Is Back on the Menu: What the Decision Means

Chefs and consumers are overjoyed. Some legal experts in the state are also satisfied.

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Foie gras
Luigi Anzivino

Earlier this week, in a welcome and long-awaited decision, U.S. District Court Judge Stephen V. Wilson ended California's two-and-half-year-old foie gras ban. Judge Wilson rejected the ban as unconstitutional, holding that it is preempted because it conflicts with the federal government's Poultry Products Inspection Act.

Within hours, foie gras was already back on menus in the state. Many chefs and consumers are overjoyed.

"Before the ban, foie gras was the most popular item on our menu, and I expect it will be again starting tonight," said chef Ken Frank, of Napa's La Toque, on Thursday, the day the ban was lifted.

Another happy Californian is attorney Michael Tenenbaum, who represents the foie gras producers and sellers in the case.

"California's attempt to ban the sale of foie gras was misguided from the start, and we're all grateful that the court recognized this law as unconstitutional," said Tenenbaum in an email to me late this week.

Other legal experts in the state are also satisfied.

"The decision is a good one as far as practical impact on food freedom," says Jeffrey Dermer, an attorney in Southern California who has followed the foie gras case closely, also by email. "The Court said that states cannot impose sales restrictions based on a process (here, selling poultry products that have been 'force fed' somewhere else) because it is preempted."

But animals rights groups, which supported the ban, are vowing to fight on.

"We expect the 9th Circuit will uphold this law, as it did in the previous round of litigation," says Paul Shapiro, vice president of farm animal protection with the Humane Society of the United States, in an email to me this week. "Force feeding is not an 'ingredient' of foie gras since foie gras can be produced without resorting to such cruel methods. We are asking the California Attorney General to appeal the ruling."

As the L.A. Times reported, a coalition of animal rights groups, including HSUS, issued a joint press release after the decision, predicting—as Shapiro did—that the 9th Circuit Court will ultimately uphold the ban.

Indeed, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals did reject an appeal seeking an injunction that would have halted enforcement of the foie gras ban while the lawsuit proceeded. Victory in that case would have meant the sale of foie gras would have been permitted pending the outcome of the lawsuit. Instead, the loss meant that the sale of foie gras was banned in the state until yesterday's decision.

But animal rights groups can't possibly hope the 9th Circuit will side with them in the foie gras case. First, the very same judge who sided with California in 2013—Judge Wilson—has now sided with foie gras supporters. Second—and far more important—is the Supreme Court case, National Meat Assn. v. Harris, that forms the basis of Judge Wilson's decision this week.

In National Meat, which I wrote about here, 9th Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski upheld a California law that allowed the state to set standards for raising pigs. Kozinski held California was not preempted, and wrote that states are free to decide which animals may be turned into meat.

In a subsequent unanimous decision reversing the 9th Circuit's holding in that case, Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan responded directly to Judge Kozinski's claim that states could decide which animals may be turned into meat. "We think not," she wrote on behalf of herself and her eight colleagues on the bench.

That means animal rights supporters have pinned their hopes on Judge Kozinski and his colleagues on the 9th Circuit to do two things. First, the 9th Circuit would have to reverse the District Court's ruling in the foie gras case. Second, they would have to do so by completely ignoring a recent unanimous Supreme Court decision that overturned the 9th Circuit's own decision in a similar case, and did so with language rebuking the reasoning of the 9th Circuit's argument that states are free to decide which animals may be turned into meat.

I've long predicted a victory for foie gras supporters.

"I'm confident that the foolish and unconstitutional foie gras ban that California legislators passed will remain on the books for just a little while longer," I wrote in 2012.

I'm pleased that victory has arrived. I'm also happy, as I discussed here and here, that this foie gras victory likely means the end for California's unconstitutional egg crate law.

Notably, though, I quibble with the District Court's rationale in the foie gras case. I believe strongly that even in the absence of a federal law that preempts California from legislating, the state has no authority to regulate interstate commerce. The foie gras ban isn't unconstitutional primarily because Congress has legislated in this area but because California cannot legislate in this area.

Jeffrey Dermer, the California attorney, agrees.

"From a freedom perspective," says Dermer, "it is kind of sad that your right to eat what you want to eat depends on the existence of a federal distribution law and not principles of freedom and logic."

Still, neither Dermer nor I would deride the outcome. This week's court ruling is a huge victory for supporters of food freedom. But it's just a first step. The appeals process in this case will provide even greater opportunities for victories in the months and years that follow.

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  1. It’s a shame and a sign of the times that this even became an issue.

    I personally can’t stand foie gras but I’m glad it’s still around. It makes our culinary choices that much richer.

    More importantly and goes without saying, bureaucrats should not determine what people can and can’t eat.

    1. “More importantly and goes without saying, bureaucrats should not determine what people can and can’t eat.”

      I agree if what we’re talking about are regulations on food guided by some paternalistic motivation, such as Bloomberg’s ‘big’ soda ban or regulations forcing less use of salt. But I’m not going to say that restrictions based on humane treatment of animals are not in some cases acceptable. If it became fashionable in some parts of the country to eat puppies by dropping them yelping into boiling pots of oil I’d support banning that process in my state and banning sales of that product in my state also.

      1. As opposed to dropping lobsters screaming into pots of boiling water. I’m pretty sure you’re not out in front on that bandwagon, because lobsters aren’t all cute and cuddly. Other than the species, what’s the difference? Why aren’t you supporting bans on surf and turf? The fact that you actually bothered posting this illustrates that you have never been to a slaughterhouse (where humane treatment is in short supply, I assure you). But something tells me you’ve bitten into a burger or a piece of chicken.

        In other words, you completely lack any semblance of logical consistency on this point. If you think government can ban eating something just because you think it’s bad, then you don’t get to complain when other people ban the crap you like just because there’s more of them than you.

        Furthermore, what exactly is the likelihood that Americans are suddenly going to start considering the family pooch for tempura? Less than zero? You seriously took time out to discuss something that is about as likely as a sudden inversion of gravity.

        Bo, I’m wiling to give you a lot more leeway than a lot of posters on the board, but at times it does appear you posit arguments for no apparent reason other than to make yourself appear like some mockery of a deep thinker.

        1. I always wonder how all those crammed crabs feel on fishing boats on ‘Deadliest Catch’.

          1. Quite crabby?

        2. I put the puppies one out there as one end of the continuum to suggest there are probably cases most people would agree on involving some sales restrictions based on humane considerations. If you want a more ‘in play’ example, I’d actually support a ban on some force fed products and the egg law.

          I’m not sure your logical consistency charge amounts to much. First, because I’m not sure how much value judgements are ‘logical’ matters. Also, I think one could have a logical distinction between dogs and lobsters other than just cute and cuddly. Dogs, for example, seem much more intelligent.

          1. As are pigs. Arguably more so than dogs.

            1. I’m against inhumane treatment of pigs for that reason. I only eat pork that’s certified humane (a private association does the certifying).

              1. So you are for government certifications. VERY libertarian.

                1. “certified humane (a private association does the certifying).”

                  1. If you want a more ‘in play’ example, I’d actually support a ban on some force fed products and the egg law.

                    Since pigs are more intelligent than eggs (and you support abortion anyway), then that says you would support a ban on ‘inhumane’ pork. Private associations can’t ban, so…

                    Oh dear, Bo, I do believe your purity and self-consistency has been irreparably cracked.

                    1. If you think some animals are covered by the NAP like some people think embryos are there’s no problem.

                    2. So Bo, you can be the person in charge of determining which animals have which rights. Good luck with that.

                    3. Oh, and which actions are considered animal torture.

                      Please, get to work on that and don’t get back with us until you are done.

                    4. Is it going to be that much tougher to come up with animal cruelty laws than it would be for child cruelty?

                    5. Is it going to be that much tougher to come up with animal cruelty laws than it would be for child cruelty?

                      Are you fucking kidding me? You are talking about giving animals rights.

                      There are 8.74 million animal species on the planet earth. First Bo gets to decide if his ridiculous assumption that animals have rights applies to all 8.74 or just the ones that he likes because they are cute (to him). Then, provided you don’t narrow the field any (which would be the philosophically “consistent” thing to do), you get to decide what rights each get. Again, the philosophically consistent thing to do is to give them all the same rights (because, they cannot, of course, claim them, as humans can, so they must be given). So let’s say we decide to keep it simple, for fear of bogging down the courts. We’ll just give all 8.74M species the right to not be tortured (we’ll use this term to encompass all animal cruelty). Now you can go through each individual species (because they all have different anatomy) and determine what constitutes torture. Is stepping on an ant cruelty? How about chopping earthworms in half when digging in the ground? I guess we’ll leave that up to Bo. Or shall we simply give all 8.74 million creatures the same attributes as people?

                    6. cont.

                      Force feeding people would be considered torture for people so it MUST BE for ducks.

                      And then what about animals torturing other animals? Will you set up a court system for the sheep to receive damages from the wolf because it ate her lamb alive? Or will it just be for the actions humans bring on animals?

                      No, Bo, animals are property. Once you start down the path of giving them rights you reach absurdity very quickly.

                    7. Really? So you don’t have a problem with people who support abortion? When they do so, they are doing it specifically because they believe they are protecting a life. Yet, you don’t see that as a life, so you vigorously oppose them.

                      But animals, well, that’s a different story. See, there you get to substitue your morals for someone else’s.

                      Yes, very consistent.

                    8. support=oppose. Just to preempt the stupid pedantry.

                    9. It’s consistent because the animals I would protect are more developed than the embryos I wouldn’t. It’s irrelevant to go on about imposing my morals on others, you do that when you support prohibiting theft, for example.

                    10. And skippy, I explicitly said I don’t think opposition to abortion is unlibertarian. Where one stands on abortion or animal cruelty depends on where you think embryos fetuses and certain animals fall in regards to the NAP.

                    11. But you desperately oppose pro-lifers. You heap scorn on SoConz for their support of it, yet you expect to be taken seriously for imposing your morals on food production. Consistency fail yet again.

                    12. The eggs are? Oh yes, by prohibiting the eggs you’re ‘freeing’ the chickens. And if you’re going to equivocate theft with what you’re proposing on food production, well, you’ve pretty much lost your case for opposing anything your dreaded SoConz want.

                    13. Chickens are more developed than fetuses? At 13wks of age a human fetal brain is about 40 grams. That is comparable or larger than an adult chicken which also does not have the same developed cortex that we do. And yet you support giving chickens more rights and ‘humane’ treatment.

                      Consistency, where are you?

                  2. the pig is still dead

          2. Then there’s the fact that one is a mammal while the other is a crustacean. It’s not like crustaceans have nerve endings running through their shells.

          3. You are extending human emotions to animals. Force feeding ducks simply isn’t inhumane.

            And I’m also, quite certain, that a chicken, with a brain the size of a pea, places great value upon its liberty or the amount of space it is provided. It eats. It sleeps. It shits. It tries to make more tasty chickens.

          4. Now that you bring it up, I want puppy tempura. It’s the suffering that makes it tasty.

            1. If only you could capture a puppy flailing a baby rabbit in deep fried batter.

              I bet that’s what schadenfreude tastes like.

          5. “I put the puppies one out there as one end of the continuum to suggest there are probably cases most people would agree on involving some sales restrictions based on humane considerations.”

            I don’t want people to boil puppies alive to cook them. But what if we can just kill them humanely? Should dog meats become legal in the US?

            I quite enjoy watching Americans trying to come up with reasons why we shouldn’t be eating dogs. “Oh, they’re domesticated pets! They’re noble animals!”

            Sorry dudes, but you guys eat deer (Bambi’s family) and rabbit. Dog meat is less dangerous than pot or alcohol.

            Half of California will be wiped out by a Tsunami (triggered by the “big one”) anyways, so why not indulge in some primo meats before you go?

        3. …”Bo, I’m wiling to give you a lot more leeway than a lot of posters on the board,”…

          Help yourself. Insufferable twits need an audience.

        4. Compare “If you think government can ban eating something just because you think it’s bad”

          With ” something that is about as likely as a sudden inversion of gravity.”

          So first you think my example is senseless and then you suggest it has such widespread agreement as to not be worth mentioning.

        5. Inversion of Gravity would be a good band name.

        6. Other than the species, what’s the difference?

          That’s a pretty big difference.

        7. As opposed to dropping lobsters screaming into pots of boiling water.

          In my time working in restaurants on the coast of Maine, I have cooked literally thousands of lobsters. Not one screamed. Occasionally some made a hissing noise as steam escaped through the shell, but not one screamed.

          Probably because, living on the sea floor, they don’t have vocal chords.

          derp

        8. Contrarian P|1.10.15 @ 10:13AM|#

          “As opposed to dropping lobsters screaming into pots of boiling water.”

          I suspect this wasn’t posted seriously, but of course lobsters can’t scream. They also don’t have an advanced nervous system like mammals do. Their closes land based relative is… the cockroach (according to Alton Brown).

        9. I’ll order lobster at a restaurant, but I’ve only cooked a live one once. It really creeped me out. Yeah, same karma but…

      2. Well, I would think the second part should in theory be ironed out by free people and minds anyway.

      3. So in a hypothetical reductio ad absurdum of some ridiculous strawman position you’ve invented, you’d be willing to compromise a little, just so long as the intentions were good.

        To borrow a catchphrase from somebody, good grief.

        1. What’s the straw man here PM? I’d be interested for to point it out specifically.

          1. The strawman is the non-sequitur issue you superimposed over a nearly completely unrelated statement.

            The regulation by bureaucrats of what people are allowed to eat and the legal status of animal cruelty are separate issues.

            To indulge your misdirection for the sake of clarity: banning restaurants from serving foie gras and banning consumers from purchasing it is not the same as banning the force feeding of ducks and geese on the grounds of animal cruelty. Carrying this to your reductio, banning the sale or purchase of dog meat would not be the same as banning the boiling of live dogs on animal cruelty grounds.

            1. You’re just stringing together words you’ve heard people arguing on the internet use with little understanding of what they mean.

              This foie gras ban Rufus was discussing is a statutory law, not a regulation. But of course, ‘bureacrats’ often enforce such laws. When he said they should NEVER decide what people eat I simply demurred and gave an example where I think most people would agree. That’s not what a straw man or non sequitur is PM.

              Also, for your analogy at the end to be apt it would be the ban on the sale of dog meat produced in the manner I described.

              1. Since you’re nitpicking, I said bureaucrats shouldn’t determine what we should eat; I didn’t say they ‘should NEVER decide what people eat’.

                1. Yes, you’re correct, it was an unqualified statement, but you did not use the word never. Mea culpa on that.

              2. This foie gras ban Rufus was discussing is a statutory law, not a regulation.

                Your pedantry is as adorable as ever, but the operative statement to which you responded didn’t even mention this particular law, actually. To refresh your memory, it was:

                bureaucrats should not determine what people can and can’t eat.

                You took issue with that statement by arguing that bureaucrats should, indeed, be allowed to regulate the treatment of live animals used for food. Which is a completely different issue. Those issues can potentially intersect, to the extent that a ban on some forms of “cruelty”, however defined, may, as a secondary effect, make it difficult or impossible to bring certain types of meat to market. That’s not the same as a ban on sales and consumption.

                (cont’d)

                1. Also, for your analogy at the end to be apt it would be the ban on the sale of dog meat produced in the manner I described.

                  No, you just didn’t understand what was being analogized. The first half of the analogy is a restriction on consumer choice, like a sales ban. The people with guns in their backs when it comes time to enforce such a law are restaurateurs and their patrons – people who don’t actually have anything to do with the treatment of the animal in question or the production of its meat. The second half of the analogy is a restriction on the treatment of an animal, like a ban on boiling live puppies. The people with guns in their back when it comes to enforce such a law are farmers and meat producers who actually raise the animal and cultivate it for meat. There’s an important difference.

                  Had you actually wanted to discuss the relevant issue you could have done so without fabricating a reason to disagree with an unrelated statement that certainly shouldn’t have been controversial. But then that would presume your intention was (or is ever) to have a good faith argument rather than to invent disagreements for their own sake.

                  1. No, you just didn’t understand what was being analogized.

                    It’s Bo. He’s analogy-challenged.

                2. “Those issues can potentially intersect, to the extent that a ban on some forms of “cruelty”, however defined, may, as a secondary effect, make it difficult or impossible to bring certain types of meat to market.”

                  Totally unrelated but may intersect! Delightful.

                  ” That’s not the same as a ban on sales and consumption.”

                  Unless like here the motivation to ban the sale is a humane objection to the process.

                  1. ” But then that would presume your intention was (or is ever) to have a good faith argument rather than to invent disagreements for their own sake.”

                    We’ve had ‘straw man.’ We’ve had ‘non sequitur. Of course ‘bad faith’ can’t be far behind!

                    You see, you think there’s a dispositive distinction between a law which bars cruel processes and a law which bars the sale of goods which may involve cruel processes. But whatever distinction there is, it doesn’t make one fall outside of bureaucrats deciding what people eat or negate my example. And here’s the proof in the cruelty free pudding: THIS law is one that bans sale of products because of the alleged inhumane process used in it’s production.

                    So, in a discussion of THIS law Rufus says bureaucrats should not determine what people can and can’t eat. And I demurred saying there were cases where I’d support laws that bar what people can eat or not, and laws that bar sales based on the production process being inhumane are included. And I gave a hypothetical example where I think most people would agree in response to his unqualified assertion. There’s no straw man, no non sequitur, no bad faith there. You’re literally throwing words out you’ve heard but don’t understand how to use.

                    1. But whatever distinction there is, it doesn’t make one fall outside of bureaucrats deciding what people eat or negate my example.

                      Yeah, it actually does. Different things are different even if they can both be used to achieve the same end. Regulating what people can eat is different from regulating how you can treat an animal. You’re having trouble with the distinction because all you can see is the result you want.

                      You’re literally throwing words out you’ve heard but don’t understand how to use.

                      No, you’re literally equivocating. Trolls gonna troll.

                    2. “Regulating what people can eat is different from regulating how you can treat an animal. You’re having trouble with the distinction”

                      No, that would be you, since this is one of many examples where the restriction is on the end sale of a product BECAUSE of the process used to create the product.

                      “No,”

                      Yes. You’ve just demonstrated you don’t know what these terms are and how to use them. There’s no ‘straw man’ in my example, it was in response to Rufus’ unqualified assertion. There’s no ‘non sequitur’, even if you buy your argument you yourself admit these issues ‘intersect.’ And there’s no ‘bad faith,’ I honestly believe that there are cases where the law and bureaucrats should be able to determine what people eat, namely when those products involve certain extreme animal cruelty to produce them. You’ve seen people use these words in disagreements but not understood them, and thinking you were in a disagreement decided to fling them around without understanding them.

                    3. If the puppies were being boiled for cattle feed, would a ban on resturants selling them to people stop the “inhumane” treatment of the boiled puppy cattle food ?

                  2. Totally unrelated but may intersect!

                    I guess learning by repetition is one method.

                    There’s nothing logically inconsistent about unrelated things intersecting. Consumption isn’t production. But one can affect the other.

                    Unless like here the motivation to ban the sale is a humane objection to the process.

                    Way to let the mask slip.

                    Yes, if you’re thinking only of ends without regards to means and process, then a sales ban is, if not “the same” then at least “as good as”, a ban on production, I suppose. As I said, it really comes to down to who you are willing to shoot in order to enforce the law. If you’re actually an animal rights supporter, shooting the ostensibly cruel farmers and ranchers makes more sense than shooting the consumers and restaurateurs to me.

                    I do have to chuckle a bit at the irony of your use of this argument in light of your views on backdoor consumer regulation as a means to effectively outlawing abortion, for example.

                    1. “Consumption isn’t production. But one can affect the other.”

                      And that’s the entire thought behind these and many other such laws. If something involves cruelty to produce it, then one form of addressing the cruelty is to bar its sale (on the idea that people will do less of it because they cannot sell it). Incentives and economics, interesting things you might want to check out.

                    2. So you support banning guns then. After all some of them will be used to murder people and banning them is one way to address that, at least partially.

                    3. Terrible analogy. A ban on meat produced in inhumane manner is applicable to those meats so produced. Your talking about something like banning all pork because some small number of pork might be made inhumanely

                    4. (on the idea that people will do less of it because they cannot sell it).

                      Or the idea that people will do less of it because they cannot purchase it.

                      Uncomfortable analogy, but perfectly equivalent. Both involve physical harm. If you want, I can make it better by equating it to a concealed carry ban or an assault weapons ban to make it more targeted.

                      You’re stuck in a self-consistency hole of your own making. The sort you are so fond of marking in others. Deal with it.

                    5. I’m not sure how you’re still not getting this. What I’m saying is that if there is a product, let’s call it ‘live-boiled dog,’ which it would be ok to bar the process of making it, then it would also be ok to bar the sale of the result of the process. How you get from that to what your talking about isn’t just an uncomfortable analogy, it’s The Incredible Journney III.

                    6. You truly have some twisted mental pathways. You are advocating banning a product to prevent an injustice you perceive from occurring. You want to ban ‘live-boiled dog’ (oh, just look at the the shock value!) because that is cruel and harms dogs. The argument is completely equivalent to banning guns because in some cases they are cruel and harm people.

                      Again, you just don’t like having your inconsistency exposed. Deal with it.

                    7. Again.

                      Bans on resturants selling boiled puppy for human comsumption doesn’t do the puppies eaten by cattle any good.

                    8. “nothing logically inconsistent about unrelated things intersecting. ”

                      It appears it’s not just terms of art in logic that befuddle you, but ordinary words like ‘unrelated’ and ‘intersect’ too.

      4. “If it became fashionable in some parts of the country to eat puppies by dropping them yelping into boiling pots of oil I’d support banning that process in my state and banning sales of that product in my state also.”

        Liberty for all means that people are free to do some things you don’t like. If you be;ieve in individual freedom then you just have to accept that.

        Besides puppy eating would undoubtably be prevented by forces other than laws about food.

        1. I’d certainly prefer those other forces to government coercion. My point is just that there are cases of in humaneness that I think fall under the NAP such that libertarianism is not violated by barring them, just as pro life libertarians don’t violate libertarian principles because for them embryos and fetuses fall under the NAP

  2. Although I have never eaten foie gras, and probably never will, I was raised on a farm where we had ducks and geese, that we ate at various times during the year. To me the best eggs I have ever eaten were goose eggs, which have a different flavor than a chicken egg, and are much larger. However, I am not sure where I stand on the idea of force feeding ducks and geese. It does sound like it would be inhumane, and I do have a soft spot for animals, even those that are raised for food, however, there are a lot more inhumane activities that man is and has been guilty of than the force feeding of a duck or goose. The one question I have to wonder about is just how healthy the eating of foie gras is? Especially if GMO crops are used for the force feeding, since the liver would seem to contain the highest concentrations of poisons from the GMO food.

    1. I thought there was a solid consensus among scientists studying the issue that GMO foods were safe.

      1. Well, not exactly. It is quite possible that someone could splice a gene into something that would make that thing harmful. I suppose someone might conceivably do that to weaponize something but I doubt it would become part of the food supply any more than gunpowder is.

    2. Especially if GMO crops are used for the force feeding, since the liver would seem to contain the highest concentrations of poisons from the GMO food.

      Holy Science! Your post seemed ok, then you went off into fantasy land.

      “They genetically modified those crops to contain poisons”! Derp.

      1. All crops are genetically modified. That’s what farmers do.

        1. All livestock is too for that matter.

        2. We must ban farming! For Mother Gaia!

        3. All crops are genetically modified. That’s what farmers do

          .

          This!

    3. Wow, GMO crops are poisonous?

      How, then, have millions of people been consuming them for a couple of decades or so now without any documented harm whatsoever?

      1. “Especially if GMO crops are used for the force feeding, since the liver would seem to contain the highest concentrations of poisons from the GMO food.”

        Sarc? Stupidity? Troll?
        You decide!

        1. Not aimed at you, Kreel.

          1. No problem 🙂

        2. Sarc? Stupidity? Troll?
          You decide!

          I’m going with “true believer”.

      2. Norman Borlaug worse than Hitler? You decide.

        1. He’s responsible for all those damn hindies, right?

      3. A couple of decades ?

        How about millenia ?

        GMO food is nothing more than grafting a fruit tree. You can plant a pepper plant next to a tomato and have spicy flavored tomato, or tomatoe. Same with garlic.

        I once planted my yellow squash too close to my zuchini. The vegatables that came out were yellow and green swirly GMO squashes. True story and they tasted just fine.

    4. Nonsense. If anything has more poison it’s non-GMO crops that must be doused in more pesticides to keep away pests and fungi.

    5. “Poisons from the GMO food.”

      *facepalm*

      What poisons would those be?

      Nice trolling River.

      1. Iocaine.

        1. I read this as “cocaine” at first. I was thinking something about features, bugs, and the Coca Cola company. But nevermind.

    6. Here is an interesting article someone posted about how foie gras might not be as cruel as some like to believe: http://www.seriouseats.com/201…..not-u.html

      After reading that, I am pretty well convinced that the fore feeding is not necessarily inhumane.

      1. Good point. That’s why I try to say I would be ok with banning some force feeding techniques.

      2. It isn’t inhumane. The agenda for the animal power types has nothing to do with foie. They are exploiting the optics of the feeding method to gain a foothold into the world of regulation. They want to ban the consumption of animals, period and this is a means to that end.

    7. I do have a soft spot for animals, even those that are raised for food,

      I don’t buy it for a second. You weren’t raised on a farm. You may have lived on or near one, but you were effectively shielded from growing, harvesting/slaughtering, and preparing your own food.

      Clean fish or carve meat until your hands hurt, shovel shit out of the chicken coup *and* the hog pen, then go get a piece of meat out of the freezer and not-quite remember what the animal’s name is was (or what name the kids gave it), then come back and talk.

      Otherwise, IMO, you display a profound and multi-fold ignorance of food production and preparation and your heart bleeds for a package of chicken wrapped in plastic that you probably wouldn’t eat anyway.

  3. “Second, they would have to do so by completely ignoring a recent unanimous Supreme Court decision that overturned the 9th Circuit’s own decision in a similar case, and did so with language rebuking the reasoning of the 9th Circuit’s argument that states are free to decide which animals may be turned into meat.”

    Well, the 9th seems capable of believing 6 impossible things before breakfast, so, who knows?

  4. If the court did conclude that the force feeding process was am ‘ingredient’ of the food then that seems suspect. It also raises a concern: one argument made against GMO labeling measures is that while you can be made to list ingredients the GMO process is not an ingredient. This conclusion seems to undermine that.

  5. It doesn’t appear to be cruel at all.

    This is the first non-PETA piece I’ve found on cruelty and humaneness of force-feeding ducks. Contrary to all the PETA hype, it’s written intelligently and without hyperbole.

    My money’s on it being nothing unusual and nowhere near as cruel or inhumane as many other farming practices.

    1. Less so than rasing veal.

  6. “it is preempted because it conflicts with the federal government’s Poultry Products Inspection Act”

    Not because we’re free or anything. That would be going too far.

  7. Foie gras is on my bucket list. Gotta try it once before I die.

    1. Put it low on that list so that you don’t miss out on something good.

      It’s some vile shit.

      1. Well, I like liverwurst and consider chicken livers to be a delicacy. I think I’ll like it.

        1. GET BEHIND ME SATAN!

          1. The other day I roasted a chicken. I first made an herbed butter with thyme and lemon zest which I rubbed under the skin. I had a bit of the butter left over, and used it to cook the livers that came in the giblets bag. Yum. Shared it with the kid and she liked it too. Though it took most of the day before my wife stopped being mad at me for cooking the stuff inside the house. She hates the smell.

            1. I happen to like liver, but agree that the smell of them cooking can be atrocious.

            2. Chicken livers cooked with loads of garlic and onion then put into a food processor makes an excellent pate’ or dip. Also add butter and salt, I amost forgot.

              If you like liver you’ll love that.

              1. Good with coconut oil (added later), onions, garlic and mushrooms of some type, on fusili.

    2. I think the best way is to treat yourself to a restaurant that knows what it is doing, but if you can find some on your own (try to find fresh, not the tins), it’s not that hard to make. Start out with a simple recipe – saut?ed on some crostini. I’m scheduled for a night out in SF in a few weeks and I am hoping the chef has something on the menu by then.

      1. I just looked it up and yeah, I could do it. Looks like all you do is sear it in a screaming hot pan, then let it rest until it’s warm in the middle. If I can work an eight burner saute station at an Italian restaurant, I can do that easily enough. But the price. Holy shit. Just looked it up and… holy shit. Wish my wife liked liver. I could order some as an anniversary treat or something. Holy shit that stuff is expensive.

  8. My inner Tony Soprano might be showing, but I’ll be damned before I eat another duck. I was raised around the things, wild and domestic, and they’re some of the most interesting and beautiful birds you’ll ever find this side of wild turkeys. And practical, even if you don’t eat them: We had some muscovies for a few years, and between those and guineas, you don’t have to worry about insect or reptilian pests provided you can handle the noise. Plus good eggs.

    Geese, on the other hand, can go to hell, as can emus. I won’t eat them, but they’re unfit avian companions.

    1. My neighbor used to raise ducks, and he said they’re some of the dumbest creatures he’s ever known. Personally I could go either way. I’ve had duck and thought it was quite good, but it’s not really something I ever seek out.

      1. I guess if you compare them to cats and dogs they’re dumb, but comparing birds to mammalian predators is a tall order. I don’t think you have ducks running around for their smarts, though.

        1. He said his chickens were much smarter than the ducks.

          1. My muskovies and mallards were both way smarter than any domestic chicken I’ve had.

            1. Just going by what he said. I’ve got no stake in this. Regardless, to me a bird is a bird. If it tastes good I’ll eat it.

      2. Turkeys ( domestic only) are such dumb animals that some have drowned in a heavy rain.

  9. A while back while I was brewing a batch of beer and listening to the radio, I heard a story about a guy producing foie gras without force feeding. I think he was in France, don’t remember the specifics, but it was a pretty cool scenario. He had a piece of land that was a cornucopia for geese. As long as he didn’t feed them, they would gorge themselves silly like every meal was their last. If they caught on that they were being fenced in, or being fed, they would recognize their captivity and not gorge themselves. They knew where their next meal was coming from. But as long as they didn’t know they were captive, they’d gorge themselves and naturally make that wonderful fatty liver.

    The story finished with someone trying to take that model and apply it in the states, but it didn’t work out. Between coyotes and other problems, it just wasn’t cost effective.

    Either way it was an interesting story, the point of which was that it’s possible to make foie gras without “cruelty.”

    1. I like my geese who die from heart attacks.

  10. To anyone who would ban foie gras, all I can say is go pluck yourself!

    1. That pun wasn’t worthy of a fledgling.

  11. Will this affect the shark fin soup ban in CA also? Because that’s to some Chinese what Foie Gras is to white people.

    If the production method is inhuman, then why not ban the practice instead of the product? Just kill the shark without releasing its finless body back to the ocean. If you can get Foie Gras without force feeding the duck, then why ban Foie Gras?

  12. Imposing your morality is okay if it invokes duck liver but now abortion. Thanks Bo, I needed some clarity on when to be unprincipled and judgemental!

  13. Banning food because its made thru cruel torture of animals makes as much sense as throwing Michael Vick in a cage for abusing dogs.

    Either animals have rights or they are property. It might be grotesque to see someone using their property in ways you disagree with, but banning their behavior or throwing them in jail is aggression. You need a victim to justify it.

    It’s the exact same issue with abortion. Build a case for personhood or GTFO. Are ducks ppl? no but its ugly. And these ppl deserve the same ostracism and jail time that Michael Vick deserved, whatever that should have been. Certainly not jailtime.

    1. Perfect post. Nothing else need be said.

    2. Greg Gutfelt’s Nutpunch|1.11.15 @ 3:02AM|#
      “Banning food because its made thru cruel torture of animals makes as much sense as throwing Michael Vick in a cage for abusing dogs.”

      Thank you.
      I don’t have to like something to avoid outlawing it and throwing people in a cage over it.

  14. If we didn’t know that was foie gras, how could we tell the picture wasn’t one of Michelle Obama’s healthy school lunch selections?

    1. Shhhhh! We hope she doesn’t notice!

      1. Hey Y’all,

        Sorry I am sooo late to this discussion? But I have pitched in and done my part! I called God just now and He / She explained to me that God knows ahead of time if an animal (fish, bird, mammal, lobster, etc.) is going to be a pet, or not. If it is going to become a pet, it gets to have REAL nerve endings and feels REAL pain, so we may not kill it for yummy treats. If it is going to be rasied (or grow in the wild) so as to become a yummy treat, God gives it FAKE nerve endings and the APPEARANCE of reacting painfully to painful stimulus, so it is OK to kill it for yummy treats. The same goes for veggies? Even if your carrot plant is a PET carrot plant, it is still OK to eat it.

        Glad that God and I could be of help? Yer welcome! PS, it’s God’s fault, not mine, that this comment is kinda late?

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  21. A victory for what animal cruelty. Your celebrating that. What a sick fuck.

  22. foie gras was already back on menus in the state. Many chefs and consumers are overjoyed. Cheers!

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