ALDF Sues USDA to Label Foie Gras for What It Is—Diseased

Posted on November 5, 2015

Suit asserts agency is misleading consumers with its seal of inspection

For immediate release:


foie-gras-ducks-cc-Liberation-BC-article-image-230San Francisco. CA — The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), the nation’s leading legal advocacy organization for animals, today filed suit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for its “undue delay” in responding to an ALDF petition to require the labeling of foie gras.

In September 2011, ALDF filed a legal petition with the USDA and its Food Safety and Inspection Service urging that the agencies require that foie gras—the “fatty liver” of a force-fed duck or goose—bear a consumer warning label stating, “NOTICE: Foie gras products are derived from diseased birds.”

The Administrative Procedure Act requires agencies to conclude matters before them—including citizen petitions for rulemaking—within a reasonable time. Thus, by failing to respond to ALDF’s petition for more than four years, the USDA has violated the law. ALDF is asking the court to order the agency to answer its petition.

Foie gras consists of the pathologically diseased livers of ducks and geese, who are force-fed massive amounts of grain, which causes their livers to swell to ten times their normal size and induces numerous painful conditions in the birds.

“The USDA is responsible for ensuring that all poultry products that enter the food supply are from healthy animals,” said Stephen Wells, executive director of ALDF. “Despite the diseased origins of foie gras and the threat it poses to human health, the agency allows foie gras products to carry its official mark of inspection, which misleads consumers into thinking that they have been inspected for wholesomeness. This violates the Poultry Products Inspection Act.”

ALDF and a coalition of animal protection groups are concurrently suing the USDA for its denial of an earlier petition for rulemaking that asked the agency to keep this diseased poultry product out of the food supply as required by the Act.


49 thoughts on “ALDF Sues USDA to Label Foie Gras for What It Is—Diseased

  1. LAura Crowley says:

    The USDA, FDA, and all the government agencies I’ve dealt with personally or read about, like this case are a joke. We are being robbed and screwed Royally and pay taxes for them to stick it to us!

  2. Sherie haines says:

    USDA ought to be ashamed, NOT ONLY FOR THE FOI GRAIS , but for the ELEPHANTS and WHALES -DOLPHIN that they are allowing to be so cruelly treated.

  3. Darlene Moak says:

    I am proud to be a monthly supporter of ALDF. Thank you for what you are doing for the animals!!

  4. Jacke fuller says:

    The very idea of force feeding these poor animals with no regard to how utterly cruel it is ,The Lord knows everything that is done to His creation and the same goes for slaughtering horses

  5. Alaya Bouche says:

    Thank you for standing up for the animals.

  6. Christine Lockhart says:

    the USDA should be responsible for labeling food for what it is. they should also be responsible for not allowing animals to be
    abused. There needs to be strict abuse laws put in effect and enforced.No one should be able to be excused for allowing abuse and doing nothing.If it takes undercover investigations then so be it.IF a person informs the officials about abuse the “whistleblower”should be rewarded not prosecuted.

  7. Chris Jones says:

    Thank you. I’ve been sickened by the phenomenon of foie gras for many years and so happy to see an organization as effective as ALDF taking this action.
    I hope everyone will send any amount they can to ALDF because ALDF gets things done.

  8. Winnie Soukup says:

    It should definitely be stopped.This evil and cruel.

  9. Donna E. Szlosek says:

    I agree with Sherie Haines above. The abuse has GOT TO END. NO ONE HAS THE RIGHT TO ABUSE AN ANIMAL, WEAR OR EAT THEM.

    1. Scarlett says:

      Too bad you did not live during the time of the pilgrims then we would not have to listen to your ridiculous ideas.

  10. Donna E. Szlosek says:


  11. Madeline Bradley says:

    Thank you for all you do!

  12. alexes says:

    brilliant – and you are right, it should absolutely be on the label.

  13. julie says:

    USDA as bad as BLM as bad as FDA etc…

  14. Gloria Kathleen says:

    Thank you for informing me. This is sooo
    Sad. They should be punished to the max.

  15. Lynn walker says:

    This is animal abuse and it isn’t good.for people who eat it

  16. Corinne Rider says:

    I can’t imagine what kind of self centered, loathsome people would promote the torture of animals so th+at they can ingest their fat and GMO engorged livers. Not only should the process be labeled, it should be illegal.

  17. Barbara Porter says:

    How true. Foie Gras is a diseased organ. Actually, I have a feeling that much of the food that comes from the factory farming industry comes from animals that are diseased. Hopefully, this industry will get straightened out sooner rather than later.

  18. Alisyn Peters says:

    This is a no-brainer! Foie gras is made from diseased livers taken from diseased animals who can barely (if at all) support their own weight, suffer neurological damage, tremors and other ailments from their liver disease. They often vomit what they are force fed, forced to live in their own vomit and the vomit of birds around them – which presents a whole other host of diseases!

    Thank you ALDF for all your work to help these and other animals!

  19. Meredith says:

    Nobody wants to eat diseased food, and that is exactly what foie de gras is. Our communities need this information.

  20. M.W. says:

    100% right. The same action can be taken on behalf of veal calves. They are purposely held immobile and anemic, so as to produce diseased soft white meat.

  21. Christine Chatwell says:

    Foie gras is diseased but more importantly produced through unimaginable cruelty.

  22. Diana Vargas says:

    this horror and cruelty against ducks must end!

  23. liliana says:

    So much goes on for the greed of corporations. The abuse has to end. This is unnacetable.

  24. liliana says:

    Horrible treatment of all animals must end

  25. Charles Rapport says:

    Foie gras should simply be outlawed. It would be in a civilized society.

  26. Linda McEleney says:

    Torturing animals is a crime….the U.S. Government should be held libel for aiding and abetting the industry!

  27. pat dupree says:

    USDA , u fail in multipe episodes of cruelty . why . ur label means little to so many now .

  28. Sabine Schreindorfer-Gruber says:

    Please stop it!!

    1. Linda Picardi says:

      Another food that is going on my prohibited list.Both for ethical reasons and the fact that I don’t want to eat food that comes from a diseased animal.As a monthly contributor I am happy for these emails that keep me informed.

  29. B.taylor says:

    Is torture to sweet ,loving and smart ducks . I cannot imagine any human beings be socruel.
    please stop ….. how can we help you???

  30. B.taylor says:

    How do I become a monthly supporter ,it charging my credit card?

  31. JAY RICHARDS says:

    Only through continued ignorance will the consumers of this sick flesh continue to consume….this gross cruelty must stop.

  32. Phil Wartel says:

    I fully agree with the ALDF. The unfortunate reality is that the very sector of the public that eats it is largely unaware of what cruelty surrounds the making of this “delicacy”. If they could see the video’s that exist of the forced feeding, the confinement, the endless suffering, and ultimately the shipping and slaughter of these poor beings, there would be a public outcry against it being served anywhere.
    There is a misconception that the USDA protects farmed animals, which is quite opposite from the truth. They are in bed with big Ag and primarily there to carry out the will of the lobbyists and those behind them. The question is, how do we end this sick partnership between the USDA and big Ag?

  33. Lauren says:

    People who treat animals like also treat people the same way. They’re dispicable, unconscionable and don’t ever deserve to be around any animal ever!!

  34. Sylwia says:

    no coment

  35. heidi ahlstrand says:

    stop this torture for our moral reasons and respect all animals.

  36. Casey Lawrence says:

    The pain and suffering can end so easily, how can you lay your head at night knowing you contribute to such trauma to beings that just want to live in peace? Its disgusting and disappointing.

  37. Horrific and must be stopped now!

  38. Janet Murphy says:

    This is disgusting.

  39. Nicola wase says:

    Shame on anyone that chooses to eat frois gras!!! Shame on you!!!

  40. marti Scholl says:

    The cruelty MUST stop! Why anyone would want to consume a terrorized, tortured, dead animal is beyond me.Not only is it bad for human health, but the cruelty is
    Marti Scholl, Las Vegas, NV

  41. Laura Austin says:

    I can’t ever thank you enough ALDF for being a voice 4 the voiceless. I only wish I could help the cause by donating something to your organization. However, I’m not financially doing well due to my poor health and just wanted to let you know that I support you in everything thing you do for the animals. Thank you so very much, god bless you and your work.

  42. Sherry Thomas says:

    Ppl wouldn’t eat that if they only knew. Sick treatment. If you eat animals , they have to be treated with respect. Enough said.


    This is simply horrid, there is no other way to describe it. My heart breaks for these poor geese, and all for human excess and stupidity. IT HAS TO BE STOPPED.

  44. Jenine Young says:

    As a long time advocate of not only ducks and geese, but for all animals, I commend you ALDF for bringing light to this horrific practice, and giving a voice to those who have none

  45. LAURA VIVEROS says:


  46. Richard Ordonez says:

    Doesn’t Oprah still consume foie gras? Someone in her position could really help to alleviate the needless suffering of these ducks and geese. It’s a shame that she thinks with her ever-expanding waistline!

  47. My entire family and friends have stopped eating ducks. This cruelty should never be tolerated. Thank you ALDF keep up the good work.

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