Ducks and geese with fatty livers are celebrating today as it is now illegal to sell foie gras in California.
Legislation that was written and signed in 2004 making the sale of the french delicacy against the law went into effect on July 1. According to KABC in San Francisco, restaurants found in violation will be fined $1,000 per offense.
CBS News reported in May that as the ban neared, restaurants were heavily featuring foie gras and customers were meeting supply with demand, resulting in skyrocketed sales. The price even doubled to $60 a pound for the tube-force-fed meat product.
The ban stems from the idea that the practice of force-feeding the geese and ducks is inhumane. Conversely, some argue that it's an age-old practice with "force feeding" being a gross overstatement.
In the months leading up to July 1, foie gras protesters were intentionally filling seats at restaurants that serve the dish to decrease sales, CBS News reported.
Chefs of restaurants that serve foie gras fear this is just the beginning of banning animal-based dishes.
"I want people to have the freedom to eat what they want," Chef Ludo Lefebvre told the New York Times. "Animal rights people would turn everyone into a vegan if they could. I don't want animal rights people to tell me what to eat. Today it's foie gras. Tomorrow its going to be chicken, or beef."
California's is the only foie gras ban in the United States. According to KABC, Chicago enacted a similar law in 2006, but it was reversed in 2008.
Locally, it had become difficult to find foie gras even before the ban went into effect. Theo's Restaurant in Soquel, which closed in 2009, served the liver delicacy as an appetizer, as did . But it disappeared from the Ma Maison menu as early as January, 2012.
A last-ditch alternative to the ban is the concept of BYOF (bring your own foie) in which customers can bring foie gras to a participating restaurant and they will cook it for a cost, much like a corkage fee on a bottle of wine. But finding the foie gras in California and a restaurant willing to cook it could prove nearly impossible.
Although the law is now official, some chefs and others in the food industry have vowed to continue fighting for its reversal. According to the Mercury News, California for Humane and Ethical Farming Standards (CHEFS), a group of 100-plus, says the state should adopt rules that enforce ethical treatment rather than instituting an outright ban.
What do you think of the ban on foie gras? Have ever eaten the dish? Will you miss it? Is it unethical? Tell us in the comments!
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