A California U.S. District Court judge ruled Wednesday that foie gras can be sold in the state again, overturning a ban that went into effect in 2012, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The production of foie gras involves force-feeding ducks with a pipe several times a day, which causes the ducks' livers to become enlarged and diseased - a process the Humane Society of the United States calls animal cruelty and within the bounds of California lawmakers to abolish.
"The state clearly has the right to ban the sale of the products of animal cruelty," HSUS president Wayne Pacelle said in a statement, "and we expect the 9th Circuit will uphold this law, as it did in the previous round of litigation."
The push for the ban reversal was spearheaded by foie gras producers Hudson Valley Foie Gras, Canadian foie gras farmers and Hot's Restaurant Group in California, the LA Times wrote. Many California chefs voiced their support for the move, including those at Los Angeles restaurants Trois Mec, Petit Trois and Providence.
But the ban reversal sparked criticism in the media, even from those outside the animal welfare realm. Hamilton Nolan at Gawker called foie gras the "the Abu Ghraib of poultry dishes."
"There is no amount of tastiness that outweighs the act of torture," he wrote.
California lawmakers have until Feb. 6 to appeal the ruling, and a representative for the California Attorney General's office told the Huffington Post that the decision is under review.
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Animal advocacy group Mercy for Animals, who conducted an undercover investigation of Hudson Valley Foie Gras in 2013, called the ban reversal "a grave miscarriage of justice."