Jessica M. Karmasek Sep. 6, 2013, 7:30pm

SAN FRANCISCO (Legal Newsline) -- The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit last week refused to block a California law that bans the "force-feeding" of ducks or geese to make foie gras.

Foie gras is made of the liver of a duck or goose that has been specially fattened by force-feeding corn with a gavage, or feeding tube.

A number of countries and jurisdictions have laws banning such force-feeding to make the French delicacy.

Sections 25980-25984 of California's Health and Safety Code, enacted in 2004 and effective from July 1, 2012, prohibit "force feed[ing] a bird for the purpose of enlarging the bird's liver beyond normal size" and the sale of products that are a result of the process.

The plaintiffs in the case -- producers and sellers of foie gras -- filed a lawsuit a day after the California law came into effect, enjoining Attorney General Kamala Harris, Gov. Jerry Brown and the state from enforcing the statute.

They argue the law is unconstitutional because it violates the Due Process Clause and the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

The Ninth Circuit, in its Aug. 30 opinion, disagreed and affirmed the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California's denial of the plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction.

"At this stage in the proceedings, Plaintiffs have not shown that the effect of § 25982 is a complete import and sales ban on foie gras," Judge Harry Pregerson wrote in the 27-page ruling.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at

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