La Toque Restaurant Illegally Selling Foie Gras

We sued La Toque restaurant for selling foie gras in violation of California law. The case is paused, pending the outcome of a constitutional challenge to the foie gras ban in a separate federal case.


July 10, 2019

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California lawmakers enacted a ban on the production and sale of foie gras in 2004, due to the cruelty involved: geese and ducks are force fed large quantities of food in order to make the animals’ livers grow large and fatty. The law went into effect in 2012.

That year, an investigator sent by the Animal Legal Defense Fund found a Napa restaurant, La Toque, violating the ban by serving foie gras as a “gift” accompanying an expensive tasting menu. When law enforcement agencies failed to take action after being presented with this evidence, we filed a lawsuit in state court against the company that owns the restaurant, LT Napa Partners.

La Toque attempted to get our claims dismissed, but we fought their efforts in court until we secured a victory. In March 2015 the California Court of Appeal for the First Appellate District rejected La Toque’s arguments against our suit, and in June, the Supreme Court of California denied their petition for review, letting stand the appellate court’s decision in our favor.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund looks forward to resuming its case against La Toque if and when the federal constitutional challenge is resolved.

Foie gras is produced by force-feeding young birds until their livers swell to eight or more times their natural size.

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