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Ass'n des Eleveurs de Canards et d'Oies du Quebec v. Becerra

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

December 7, 2016, Argued and Submitted, Pasadena, California; September 15, 2017, Filed

No. 15-55192


 [*1142]  NGUYEN, Circuit Judge:

In 2004, California passed legislation to prohibit the practice of force-feeding ducks or geese to produce foie gras, an expensive delicacy made from their liver. California determined that the force-feeding process, which typically involves inserting a 10-to 12-inch metal or plastic tube into the bird's esophagus to deliver large amounts of concentrated food, is cruel and inhumane. The state therefore prohibited force-feeding a bird "for the purpose of enlarging the bird's liver beyond normal size," Cal. Health & Safety Code § 25981, as well as the in-state sale of products made elsewhere from birds force-fed in such a manner, id. § 25982. The legislation [**4]  does not ban foie gras itself, but rather the practice  [*1143]  of producing foie gras by force-feeding. California provided a grace period of over seven and a half years for producers to transition to alternative methods of producing foie gras. Id. § 25984.

On July 2, 2012, the day after the state law took effect, Plaintiffs sued the state of California, challenging only Health and Safety Code section 25982, the provision that bans the sale of products made from force-fed birds. Plaintiffs initially argued that the sales ban violates the Due Process and Commerce Clauses of the U.S. Constitution. After these claims were dismissed, Plaintiffs amended their complaint to allege that the federal Poultry Products Inspection Act (the "PPIA"), which has been on the books for over fifty years, preempts the state provision. The district court concluded that section 25982 is expressly preempted by the PPIA and granted Plaintiffs summary judgment. We reverse and remand.


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870 F.3d 1140 *; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 17922 **

ASSOCIATION DES ÉLEVEURS DE CANARDS ET D'OIES DU QUÉBEC, a Canadian nonprofit corporation; HVFG, LLC, a New York limited liability company; HOT'S RESTAURANT GROUP. INC., a California corporation, Plaintiffs-Appellees, v. XAVIER BECERRA, Attorney General, Defendant-Appellant.

Subsequent History: Later proceeding at Ass'n des Eleveurs de Canards et d'Oies du Quebec v. Becerra, 138 S. Ct. 2668, 201 L. Ed. 2d 1048, 2018 U.S. LEXIS 3792 (U.S., June 18, 2018)

US Supreme Court certiorari denied by Ass'n v. Becerra, 2019 U.S. LEXIS 560 (U.S., Jan. 7, 2019)

Prior History:  [**1] Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California. D.C. No. 2:12-cv-05735-SVW-RZ. Stephen V. Wilson, District Judge, Presiding.

Ass'n des leveurs de Canards et d'Oies du Qubec v. Harris, 79 F. Supp. 3d 1136, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5806 (C.D. Cal., Jan. 7, 2015)


ingredient, foie, gras, poultry, ban, preemption, preempted, force-feeding, meat, feeding, animal, liver, inspection, force-fed, slaughter, food, slaughterhouses, adulterated, consumption, pig, nonambulatory, obstacle, labeled, horsemeat, horse, enlarging, husbandry, wholesome, handling, packaged

Civil Procedure, Appeals, Summary Judgment Review, Standards of Review, Standards of Review, De Novo Review, Governments, Legislation, Interpretation, Constitutional Law, Supremacy Clause, Federal Preemption, Business & Corporate Compliance, Governments, Agriculture & Food, Meat Inspections