Chef Sued Over False Advertising of Foie Gras

Apr 04, 2012, 18:19 ET from Animal Protection and Rescue League

SAN DIEGO, April 4, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Animal Protection and Rescue League (APRL) has just filed a class action lawsuit against Hot's Kitchen and chef Sean Cheney in Hermosa Beach, after the defendants sent out a national press release advertising their foie gras burger as "humane" and a way to support "animal rights."

The suit, San Diego Superior Court case number 2012-95110, alleges the foie gras sold by the defendants is made by force feeding, which results in "extreme, unmitigated pain and suffering as well as crippling injuries to the ducks."

"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not to their own facts," states Bryan Pease, attorney for APRL.  "By claiming the foie gras they sell is 'humane' as a publicity stunt, these defendants are deliberately misleading consumers into purchasing a cruel product."

APRL investigated the two main U.S. foie gras producers in 2002-2003, and again in 2004, along with a spin-off producer located near the main producer.  APRL again investigated the producers in 2011 to confirm that they are still force feeding ducks to the point of organ rupture and death, according to the suit.

The suit quotes Hudson Valley Foie Gras co-owner Michael Ginor, the source of defendants' foie gras, as stating, "There's no question that the duck on day 28 of feeding is not as happy as a duck that hasn't been fed...I felt like I was never 100-percent wholesome with it in the sense that I think you can't be 100-percent wholesome with it...I understand the issues. I partially agree with the issues."

The suit also states that the National Advertising Division of the Better Business Bureau already determined in 2009 with respect to Hudson Valley Foie Gras that the term "humane" is false and misleading to consumers.

California state law bans sale and production of foie gras made by force feeding—which all foie gras is—effective July 1, 2012.  Only about 300 restaurants in the whole state still carry the controversial item, and over 100 restaurants have already removed it, including celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck, who recently sent a letter to thousands of high-end restaurants in the state urging them to support the ban.

Details of APRL's animal cruelty investigations are posted at Broadcast quality footage of the investigations are available upon request.



SOURCE Animal Protection and Rescue League