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Hot's Kitchen Sues State Over Foie Gras Law

The Hermosa Beach restaurant and other plaintiffs say the new law banning the sale of Foie Gras in California is unconstitutional.

A Los Angeles restaurant group is among plaintiffs suing the state and various officials in an attempt to overturn California's recently enacted ban on sale of foie gras, the goose liver delicacy usually prepared from the force-feeding of ducks and geese, according to papers obtained today.

-- which operates eateries in Hermosa Beach and Northridge -- along with the Canadian duck-farming trade organization Association des Eleveurs de Canards et d'Oies du Quebec and New York-based producer Hudson Valley Foie Gras contend that the statewide ban is "unconstitutional, vague and interferes with federal commerce laws."

  • Previously:

The law banning the production and sale of foie gras -- fatty duck and/or goose liver -- and its byproducts went into effect Sunday. Restaurants serving the gourmet item can be fined up to $1,000.

Foie gras is usually produced through a process in which ducks or geese are force fed corn through tubes inserted in their throats, a practice seen as inhumane by animal rights activists which helped prompt the ban.

Attorney Michael Tenenbaum, who filed the suit in Los Angeles federal court this week, said that because California represents such a large potential market for the item, the ban severely hurts business for foie gras producers.

He said he would seek a preliminary injunction to temporarily halt the law until the suit can go to trial. Along with the state, the complaint names Attorney General Kamala Harris and Gov. Jerry Brown.

Animal lovers crusaded against force feeding, persuading the Legislature to outlaw the practice, which effectively banned the delicacy in the state.

But Tenenbaum insists the law is too vague because it does not detail methods to measure the point at which a bird has been illegally overfed.

George Ziegler July 07, 2012 at 10:52 AM
This law is based on faulty science. Aviary experts have repeatedly said that geese can swallow fish whole, scales, bones and all, stretching their gullets far more than a feeding tube might. Furthermore, geese gorge themselves in the wild similarly when migrating. I'm all for making the treatment of animals bred for slaughter more humane and for restricting the consumption of endangered species. I'm also not a big foie gras consumer and could live without it. That's not the point. However, government should not be telling us what we can eat if the force feeding really is humane. This bill is based on bad logic, bad science and well-intentioned empathy. Government should be less intrusive in our lives and has overstepped its authority. The supporters of this ban should also refrain from name calling and engage in polite discourse else THEY be perceived as "Morons" or worse. Kindest Regards from Hermosa Beach
George Ziegler July 07, 2012 at 10:57 AM
If the supporters of this bill really want to stop animal cruelty, why not police the beef, pork, and chicken processing industries where most of this inhumane treatment occurs. What's the point of shutting down a small business in Sonoma who is treating geese as humanely as possible? Attack the biggest offenders not the easiest target when the aviary experts say you're wrong anyway.
casey adyams July 09, 2012 at 01:02 AM
research.... please research ....if you are going to eat ham. you might as well eat Foi Gras. needless to say, if you are fine with murdering a cow?
casey adyams July 09, 2012 at 01:05 AM
do your research......enough said
George Ziegler August 28, 2012 at 11:51 PM
I respect everyone's right to be vegan or vegetarian. I wouldn't mandate that everyone eat that way or tell them to eat organically. Let's face it: Some animals are raised for slaughter, but it's more humane to treat them kindly before they become part of the food chain. It's not right for government to compel anyone to eat a certain way even if it is "better" for them. The research on plant based diets shows clearly that they are better for us. It's up to the individual to make that choice, not others nor government authorities.

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