California’s Foie Gras Ban Takes Effect Sunday
Friday, June 29, 2012
Aired 6/29/12 on KPBS News.
You won’t be able to order foie gras at California restaurants, starting July 1st. That’s when a statewide ban on the fattened duck liver takes effect.
Foie gras is created by force-feeding ducks. Paul Shapiro with the Humane Society of the United States said California was right to ban the practice - and the product.
"The cruelty that these ducks endure on a regular basis is so inhumane," said Shapiro. "It's so extreme, that it really is just out of step with mainstream American values about how animals ought to be treated."
But a group of prominent chefs has been fighting the ban, claiming it's an essential delicacy. They're calling instead for more humane practices. Nathan Ballard is with the "Coalition for Humane and Ethical Farming Standards.
"Instead what's going to happen is the foie gras will be driven underground and there will be a black market in foie gras and only bootleggers will produce it," said Ballard.
Ballard also said a ban enacted in Chicago several years ago failed because restaurants still offered foie gras - by giving it away "free" with an overpriced glass of wine. The California ban was signed into law by then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger more than seven years ago.