Animal Advocates Declare Victory in Federal Foie Gras False Advertising Suit

Posted on August 15, 2013

Hudson Valley Foie Gras No Longer Promoting Itself as “The Humane Choice”

For immediate release:

Lisa Franzetta, Animal Legal Defense Fund
Megan Backus, Animal Legal Defense Fund

ducks-article-image-x2SAN FRANCISCO — In a groundbreaking end to its false advertising lawsuit against New York-based Hudson Valley Foie Gras, the national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) is celebrating the company’s decision to stop advertising its products as “humane.” ALDF has voluntarily dismissed its lawsuit after Hudson Valley Foie Gras–the largest foie gras producer in the nation—removed all references to “humane” foie gras from its website in late July, 2013. ALDF’s lawsuit contended that Hudson Valley Foie Gras was violating the federal Lanham Act and California’s False Advertising and Unfair Competition Laws by claiming to be “the Humane Choice” while force-feeding massive amounts of grain to ducks to produce the swollen livers marketed as foie gras. The case set a new precedent that both animal protection organizations and companies marketing legitimately humane alternatives to cruelly-produced products have legal standing to sue producers of animal products for false advertising.

Why aren’t force-fed products humane? Avian pathologists agree that force-fed foie gras production can never be humane and note that force-feeding can cause an excruciating liver disease known as hepatic lipidosis and can lead to respiratory distress, diarrhea, seizure, and death. Hudson Valley Foie Gras products are produced by force-feeding young ducks with massive amounts of grain to produce livers eight or more times the size of a healthy liver—a procedure described by agriculture industry expert Temple Grandin as “highly questionable from an animal welfare standpoint.”

Co-plaintiff with ALDF in the lawsuit was Ella Nemcova, whose company The Regal Vegan produces a humane, plant-based alternative called “Faux Gras.” The lawsuit contended that Hudson Valley’s manipulative marketing tactics unfairly encouraged consumers to purchase force-fed foie gras over cruelty-free products like The Regal Vegan’s. “The resolution of ALDF’s lawsuit signifies a major victory for consumers and legitimately humane companies like The Regal Vegan by discouraging the deceptive use of the term ‘humane’ in cruelly-made products,” says Stephen Wells, executive director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund. “It is also important for these force-fed ducks that Hudson Valley Foie Gras is no longer promoting its cruel practices as ‘humane’ to unsuspecting consumers.”

Copies of the lawsuit are available by request.

27 thoughts on “Animal Advocates Declare Victory in Federal Foie Gras False Advertising Suit

  1. sheila orff says:

    this whole idea of force feeding an animal for the use of humans to eat is so discusting..I wish they would put them threw the same treatment …

    1. Naila M Sanchez says:

      Those horribly cruel businesses should DEFINITELY suffer the same painful fate!! Great work ALDF!! We love you!!

  2. Sarah says:

    Thank you, once more, ALDF, for your great work!

  3. Sarah says:

    Great outcome from smart hard legal work.

  4. Great job! Now, let’s ban this cruel and disgusting practice altogether! And eat products from Regal Vegan and other truly humane sources of plant based food.

    1. Naila M Sanchez says:

      Yes! People, try to start reducing meat in your diets and turn to life-giving plant alternatives… NEVER BUY FOIS GRAS….NEVER!!!


    the Victory will be when this evil madness stops. shame on humans who do anything for profit at the expense of animal cruelty.

  6. Mike McGowan says:

    Maybe these people who do this at hudson Vally should feel what it’s like to be savagely force fed untill sick and when their livers get big rip them out and see how they react to this practice then after all inhumane practices forfit their right to being considered a human and this practice on them whould then be ethical as per their beliefs

  7. Elaine Ervolino says:

    Congratulations to ALDF for your continued efforts to publicly make known the inhumane treatment of force-fed ducks to produce foie gras. People must be aware of the abuse behind what’s on their plate. Now if we can only stop the production of foie gras setting an example that those companies who continue to abuse animals will be shut down.

  8. Elaine Ervolino says:

    Congratulations to ALDF for your exposure of cruelty at Hudson Farms production of foie gras. People must be aware of the abuse behind what’s on their plate. Now if we can stop the production of foie gras setting an example those who abuse animals will be shut down, that would be a tremendous victory.

  9. Anne Kenney says:

    Oh it is such a relief to see humans evolve and become more conscious. ALDF you are heros to me, don’t let anyone sway you from doing what’s right.
    No one can sway my backing you. I’m with you!

    Every kind and decent person is, even if they don’t know the truth yet. When people find out the truth they will be aghast too and back you so speak up. This horribly cruel treatment has to stop if we want to call ourselves a civilized society.
    Anne Kenney of Annabel’s Lil’ Rescue Hen Vegan Bakery

  10. maria says:

    Great outcome, keep up the great work

  11. Linda Bowman says:

    This is wrong who do they think they are anyway,force feeding has never been right it is not humane in any way ,please take them down ALDF.Don’t let this horrible act go on please stop them or force feed them like they have the animals!!!!!!

  12. Janet in Cambridge MA says:

    I only wish they would be forced to replace “humane” with “inhumane” on their website. But it’s definitely a victory.

  13. Darlene Moak says:

    Well done!! There are no words to describe the absurdity of “humane” foie gras. Shame on these people!

  14. Judith Zoe says:

    Thank you, ALDF, for helping turn the tide in favor of protection of animals. I am a transplanted San Franciscan and live in the Hudson Valley so you are cleaning up a bit of my commercial back yard. Don’t stop!!

  15. laura mendez says:

    Excelentes noticias! Ya basta de “usar” y abusar a otros animales que, igual que nosotros, sienten. Tenemos que ponernos (o a un ser muy amado) en el lugar de cada animal y actuar en consecuencia. Seguiríamos tratándolos como lo hacemos? Bien hecho ALDF

  16. diana graham says:

    great work, but why did you drop the lawsuit, they should have paid. anyways, great work

  17. Catherine terzian says:

    Good work ALDF….it brings tears to my eyes to here how these poor ducks must suffer from force feeding….there should be also a fine and this practice needs to stop

  18. M Leg says:

    Good! Who with a conscience can eat foie gras? Humane? No way!

  19. Ourania Hegedus says:

    Thank you for your hard work and keeping me informed.

  20. melanie hoyt says:

    This is precedent-setting. Congratulations. Now let’s ban it
    state by state.

  21. Helena says:

    People all over the world need to have the courage to find out where their food comes from and how much suffering it causes. Unfortunately it suits alot of people to bury their heads in the sand. It is so much easier to take the low road.

  22. Karen Benzel says:

    Those of us who work in animal welfare know that any animal in factory farm food production suffers but this, force feeding to death, is surely at the top of the most painful and torturous. All I can hope is that the humans, who violate these wonderful creatures to make money, die and come back as a foie gras duck, battery hen, or veal calf over and over and over.

    A torture on animals.


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