If you haven’t yet heard, the U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear a case that could have allowed the continued sale of foie gras in California. This all started in 2004 when the State Assembly voted to ban all foie production and sales commencing July of 2012. This legislation has seen reversals and appeals in the intervening years, which ended on January 7th, 2019, when the Supreme Court refused the case. This threw it back to the 9th Circuit that had already upheld the State’s ban in 2015 though allowing for a three-year stay which has just now expired, making the sale of foie gras once again illegal. It is difficult to see where the fight can go from here. Producers and some chefs are planning on carrying on the challenge but unless the President declares a state of emergency, the path is unclear. We have reprised our newsletter from the earlier ban in 2012 as a reminder of the crazy route this has taken.
Gone, But Not Foiegotten
For those who live on the epicurean equivalent of Pluto we bring you the sad news that as of July 1st, 2012, foie gras will no longer be sold in the State of California. Considering the dire state of our planet and the many personal tribulations we face this might not, for most, constitute an occasion for prolonged hand wringing. If you are a chef, however, one of the brightest colors in your culinary crayon box has gone missing. The fact that the gavage or technique of force-feeding ducks and geese seems to some as humane as waterboarding and that a majority of the public doesn’t know what foie gras is, makes the reversal of the ban in the State Assembly unlikely. Likewise, the notion of foie gras as the “breakfast of billionaires” doesn’t engender sympathy to the cause. But eating critters has never been an act of unconditional love. If we go too far down this road we may ban the boiling of live crabs and lobsters. Nor is the idea of waiting for your meat source to die of old age a particularly palatable option. So, let’s accept this victory for the animal rights activists with good grace. When the time comes for their next action, let’s help them stand against the inhumane conditions of factory-raised animals while being mindful that not everyone can afford grass-fed beef or pastured chickens. Remember people are animals too and that goes for cash strapped consumers and farm workers. Compassion can be a two-edged sword. In the meantime, you can visit Reno for some foie gras. This may be their just revenge for what Indian gaming in California did to their casinos.