ALDF Back in Court in Foie Gras False Advertising Lawsuit

Posted on April 3, 2013

For immediate release

Lisa Franzetta, Animal Legal Defense Fund

SAN FRANCISCO — Tomorrow, April 4, the national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) will present oral arguments to the U.S. District Court of Northern California in response to two motions to dismiss the false advertising lawsuit against New York-based producer Hudson Valley Foie Gras (HVFG). The lawsuit alleges that HVFG, the largest foie gras producer in the nation, violated the federal Lanham Act and California’s False Advertising and Unfair Competition Laws by claiming to be "the Humane Choice" while using inhumane practices. Furthermore, while California banned the sale of cruelly-produced foie gras in 2012, HVFG products remain available online to California purchasers.

Co-plaintiff Ella Nemcova’s Brooklyn-based company, The Regal Vegan, is also challenging HVFG’s manipulative marketing tactics as they unfairly encourage consumers to buy its force-fed foie gras instead of cruelty-free products. As the Regal Vegan produces a legitimately humane and plant-derived alternative called "Faux Gras," ALDF’s lawsuit also marks the first time a humane competitor has used false advertising laws in a federal case alongside an animal protection group.

When: Thursday, April 4th at 11am
Where: U.S. District Court of Northern California, Courtroom 8
450 Golden Gate Ave‎, San Francisco, Calif. 94102

Further Background

Tomorrow’s motion challenges ALDF’s legal standing to bring the case and the standing of The Regal Vegan as a humane competitor. Additionally, the motion questions whether or not the false advertising claim is actionable under the law, claiming that the word "humane" is a vague matter of opinion rather than a statement of fact. If ALDF wins the motion, the case will proceed.

Hudson Valley Foie Gras products are derived from force-feeding young ducks with enormous amounts of grain in order to produce livers eight or more times the size of a healthy liver. Avian pathologists agree that force-fed foie gras production can never be "humane" as it is linked with an excruciating liver disease known as hepatic lipidosis, and can lead to respiratory distress, diarrhea, seizure, and death. "Consumers deserve to know the truth about the exploitation of ducks and the reality behind foie gras’s force-fed lies," says Stephen Wells, executive director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund. "Hudson Valley’s inhumane practices are not what people expect when purchasing products labeled ‘humane.’"

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