Foie gras on the way out in California

Published on November 15, 2004
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California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed legislation in September prohibiting the force-feeding of ducks, geese, and other birds to produce the delicacy known as foie gras, a French term meaning "fatty liver."

California is home to one of only three farms that produce foie gras nationwide; the others are in New York. To produce the gourmet product, birds are force-fed until their livers grow to be several times their normal size.

State Sen. John Burton of San Francisco introduced the measure banning the practice in February. When it takes effect on July 1, 2012, the law will also outlaw foie gras products from being sold in California. Violators can be fined up to $1,000 per violation per day.

In July, the AVMA House of Delegates was presented with a resolution opposing the practice. Most delegates knew little about foie gras, however, so the resolution was referred to the AVMA Animal Welfare Committee for study (see JAVMA, Sept. 1, 2004).