Californians with a fondness for the fatty liver of a goose or duck can return to their favorite fancy restaurants. The state's two-year ban on serving foie gras has been struck down by a federal judge.
The law was actually passed way back in 2004, after being pushed by animal rights activists unhappy with the manner by which foie gras is produced. (The bird is force-fed corn through a tube.) Implementation, however, was delayed until 2012. After that, farmers were forbidden in California from creating foie gras in this fashion and restaurants were forbidden from selling it.
To say the law was "implemented" may be an overstatement. Public officials openly stated little interest in actually enforcing the ban, and restaurants were able to work around it by giving away foie gras as samples or agreeing to serve foie gras that customers brought in with them. Animal rights activists responded by attempting to sue restaurants directly.
Their efforts were for naught. U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson blocked California from enforcing the law in January, ruling that federal poultry regulations supersede state laws. Restaurants across the Golden State immediately returned the pricey dish to their menus, if indeed they hadn't quietly been still serving it all along.
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Back on the Menu".