After a seven-year appeal process from the foie gras industry, the U.S. Supreme Court has declined without comment to review a ruling which would overturn a state law prohibiting the sale of foie gras from force-fed ducks and geese.

California banned the sale of foie gras in 2012, but this ban has been appealed since by the industry which produces it and in September 2017, a three-judge panel of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the ban. 

This was petitioned again but the request was denied. The industry had finally taken the appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, who had the power to overturn the decision and had left the ban's future uncertain until Monday when the challenge was declined without comment. 

A sign along the 'Route du Foie Gras' in France

A sign along the 'Route du Foie Gras' in France

Foie gras, which means “fat liver” in French, is made from the livers of ducks or geese. In the last stages of feeding, birds are force-fed through a tube in order to enlarge their livers.

The ban on sales within California of foie gras from birds that have been force-fed anywhere in the world was one of two parts of a law passed by the Legislature in 2004. The measure went into effect in 2012. The second part of the law prohibited force-feeding of birds within California. That part was not challenged in the lawsuit.

The ban is said to take effect fully within a week. According to the law, a restaurant caught serving the gourmet item in California could be fined up to $1,000.

According to a statement on PETA's website – People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, "This victory for animals follows tireless efforts from animal rights activists to oppose the archaic foie gras industry. PETA and our supporters have protested the sale of the vile product in California for years by exposing the industry’s cruel production process and advising consumers to eat readily available vegan faux gras instead."