Animal Legal Defense Fund Urges California Attorney General to Sue Foie Gras Advocates for False Advertising

Posted on June 25, 2012

ALDF Asks Attorney General Harris to Take on Local Chefs, Industry Insiders Who Claim Force-Fed Foie Gras Is "Humane"

For immediate release:

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

Cruel Foie GrasSACRAMENTO, Calif. – This morning, the national non-profit Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) filed a complaint with California Attorney General Kamala Harris, asking her to sue foie gras industry advocates for disseminating false and misleading advertisements that portray foie gras as humanely produced. The complaint names Napa chef Ken Frank, the Golden Gate Restaurant Association’s Rob Black, Sonoma Artisan Foie Gras owner and operator Guillermo Gonzalez, and New York’s Hudson Valley Foie Gras. ALDF sent a concurrent letter to the Better Business Bureau, whose National Advertising Division (NAD) recently found that claims that foie gras is humane are misleading to consumers.

With California’s historic ban on foie gras set to go into effect on July 1, 2012, foie gras supporters have ramped up efforts to publicly disseminate false and misleading information about force-fed foie gras in a last ditch effort to stop the ban from taking effect. ALDF’s complaint outlines numerous instances of these industry advocates promoting foie gras as a cruelty-free product made from healthy animals, despite voluminous scientific evidence that force-feeding of ducks and geese for foie gras is egregiously cruel, and that this process results in disease, including a swelling of the “fatty liver” that will be sold as the delicacy known as foie gras.

ALDF’s complaint urges Attorney General Harris to use her power to commence civil enforcement action in superior court against the industry advocates under California’s Unfair Competition Law. For each false or misleading statement addressed in the attorney general’s complaint, the court has the power to impose fines of up to $2,500–a potentially hefty bill given the number of misleading statements cataloged by ALDF in their non-exhaustive list.

“By promoting foie gras as ‘humane,’ chefs and producers who profit from this abusive product are making a mockery of the efforts of consumers who wish to make more informed, compassionate food choices,” says ALDF’s executive director Stephen Wells. “False advertising by foie gras advocates harms both consumers and retailers who are legitimately striving to improve the conditions of animals in the food industry.”

Copies of ALDF’s letters to the attorney general and to the Better Business Bureau are available upon request. ALDF was founded in 1979 with the unique mission of protecting the lives and advancing the interests of animals through the legal system.

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