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Supreme Court upholds foie gras ban in California

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Grilled foie gras-- not available in California. (iStock)

Californians will still have to find their foie gras somewhere else.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld California’s ban on foie gras, refusing to hear an appeal filed by restaurants and foie gras producers in California, New York and Canada, Reuters reports.

Foie gras is made by force-feeding ducks and geese through a tube until their livers grow enlarged where they're then turned into gourmet food. The California law, which was passed in 2004 and went into effect in 2012, bars farmers from force-feeding birds "for the purpose of enlarging the bird's liver beyond a normal size." Possessing the fatty liver or giving it as a gift is legal.

The Supreme Court’s ruling upheld a law that was first proposed by animal rights activists and signed into law by then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Animal rights activists, who argue that process of force feeding geese is unnatural, painful and inhumane, are celebrating the decision.

"The Supreme Court’s decision means that the people of California have the right to prohibit the sale of certain food items, solely because they are the product of animal cruelty," said Jonathan Lovvorn, chief counsel for the Humane Society of the United States,  in a statement.

"The holding in this case - that states have the right to cleanse their markets of cruel products - is a precedent of enormous consequence for millions of animals," Lovvorn added.

California is the only state in the U.S. that bans the sale of foie gras.