In the U.S., chefs and foodies alike are reveling after a federal judge ruled foie gras can once again be sold in California. Made form the fatty liver of ducks and geese, the spread was banned in 2012 due to charges of animal cruelty. CCTV America’s May Lee reported this story from Los Angeles.
Warning some of these images may be disturbing.
Foie gras ban removed in California, animal rights groups protestIn the U.S., chefs and foodies alike are reveling after a federal judge ruled foie gras can once again be sold in California. Made form the fatty liver of ducks and geese, the spread was banned in 2012 due to charges of animal cruelty. CCTV America’s May Lee reported this story from Los Angeles.
Foie gras is back on the menu at Hot’s Kitchen in Hermosa Beach, California.
The federal court ruling comes after a two-and-a-half year ban, and Hot’s Kitchen was one of three plaintiffs who challenged the prohibition.
Chef and owner Sean Chaney said the fight was all about freedom.
“It’s a right. It’s my right to serve it. If you don’t like it, don’t buy. It’s real simple,” Chaney said.
The decision has animal rights advocates furious. They argue foie gras is the product of torture because ducks and geese are force-fed daily to produce an enlarged fatty liver.
“Shoving a metal pipe down a duck’s throat, forcing the animal to consume more feed than they would naturally, not only causes tears in their esophagus, stress, and many times these animals die from the process,” Matt Rice from Mercy for Animals said.
Animal cruelty charges are why the state originally banned foie gras, but it was superseded by the U.S. District court which said the federal Poultry Products Inspection Act allowed for the making of foie gras.
The act regulates the sale and distribution of poultry products including overseeing ingredients and labeling. The plaintiffs in the case argued the process of force-feeding is an ingredient that produces foie gras. The judge agreed and overturned the ban.
Animal welfare was never addressed because the act doesn’t cover that issue.
Animal rights activists said it’s impossible to overlook the cruelty of producing foie gras and claim they have the video to prove it. Mercy for Animals allegedly shot video during a 2013 undercover investigation at Hudson Valley Foie Gras — another plaintiff in the case.
In the video, ducks are seen being force fed with a metal tube. Other birds are in small cages, some appear to have bloodied beaks and necks. Workers are heard describing what happens on the farm.
CCTV-America tried to contact Hudson Valley Foie Gras for comment, but did not receive a response.
The company’s website reads: “The essence of farming is caring for animals. At Hudson Valley Foie Gras, the premier producer of foie gras in America, this is especially true.”
Renowned food critic Sophie Gayot has never visited Hudson Valley, but she vouches for the farm’s treatment of animals.
“It doesn’t hurt the animals. It doesn’t hurt those animals. There’s so many people doing this, it doesn’t just hurt them. Hundred percent guarantee,” Gayot said.
Animal rights groups have asked the state’s attorney general to appeal the federal court ruling.
“Video doesn’t lie. Our investigators go in as the eyes and ears for the public,” Rice said. “The way the animals are treated when the industry doesn’t think they’re being watched.”