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Foie Gras Producers Sue to End California Ban

Foie gras producers in the U.S. and Canada, joined by a restaurant group, sued California to block enforcement of the nation’s first state law banning sales of duck liver.

The complaint, filed yesterday in federal court in Los Angeles, seeks to stop a law passed in 2004 that went into effect July 1. Animal-rights advocates say force-feeding ducks and geese with a tube inserted in the esophagus to fatten their livers is cruel.

The ban on foie gras, the French name of the delicacy, was signed into law by then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Enforcement was postponed for almost eight years to allow producers to find an alternative to force-feeding. No substitute method has come to light.

The law bans force-feeding of ducks or geese to make foie gras and forbids selling foie gras produced that way. Violators can be fined as much as $1,000 a day.

Nicholas Pacilio, a spokesman for California Attorney General Kamala Harris, declined to comment on the lawsuit.

The case is Association des Eleveurs de Canards et d’Oies du Quebec v. Kamala Harris, 12-5735, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles.)

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