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California's Foie Gras Ban Overturned; Delicacy Back On Menu

(CBS SF) - A Judge has overturned California's ban on the sale of foie gras, the controversial duck or goose liver dish that has been the target of animal rights activists for years.

U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson upheld a challenge that the law was unconstitutional because it interferes with existing federal laws regulating the product, reports the L.A. Times.

The law was enacted nine years ago, but it gave the state's only foie gras producer, Sonoma-Artisan Foie Gras, until 2012 to come up with a more humane way to make the delicacy. It wasn't able to, so the French-inspired dish has been banned for two years.

"The state clearly has the right to ban the sale of the products of animal cruelty, and we expect the 9th Circuit will uphold this law, as it did in the previous round of litigation," said Paul Shapiro from the Farm Animal Protection division of The Humane Society, indicating that the court battle isn't over.

The federal ruling came in a lawsuit brought by foie gras farmers in Canada and New York and by the Hermosa Beach restaurant Hot's Kitchen.

Their attorney, Michael Tenenbaum, called the ruling a victory "not just for foie gras but for freedom." His statement said Hot's Kitchen chef Sean Chaney is shouting from the rooftop, "Let the foie start flowing again!"

Some restaurants had defied or tried to find loopholes in the ban, including the Presidio Social Club in San Francisco, whose managers contended the law didn't apply to them because the restaurant is on land administered by a federal agency.

Chicago passed a similar ban on the delicacy but later repealed it.

TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten. The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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