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Judge to Hear Foie Gras Ban Arguments

Hot's Kitchen is suing the state over its ban on foie gras.

Representatives from restaurants in Hermosa Beach and Northridge are expected to ask a federal judge Wednesday to sign a temporary injunction halting California's recently enacted ban on the sale of foie gras, the delicacy usually prepared from the force-feeding of ducks and geese.

Hot's Restaurant Group, along with the Canadian duck-farming trade organization Association des Eleveurs de Canards et d'Oies du Quebec, and New York-based producer Hudson Valley Foie Gras contend that the statewide ban is "unconstitutional, vague and interferes with federal commerce laws."

Hot's Restaurant Group owns in Hermosa Beach.

The law banning the production and sale of foie gras—fatty duck and/or goose liver—and its byproducts went into effect July 1. Restaurants selling the gourmet item can be fined up to $1,000.

In response to the law, Hot's Kitchen is currently serving foie gras for free "on the side" of one of its dishes. If a customer doesn't want the delicacy, the price for th dish remains the same.

U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson will be asked to sign an order allowing sales of the delicacy to resume temporarily until the issue can be decided permanently.

Foie gras is usually produced through a process in which ducks or geese are force fed corn through tubes inserted in their throats, a practice seen as inhumane by animal rights activists.

Animal lovers crusaded against force feeding, persuading the Legislature in 2004 to outlaw the practice in, which effectively banned the delicacy in the state.

But attorney Michael Tenenbaum insists the law is too vague because it does not detail methods to measure the point at which a bird has been illegally overfed.

Tenenbaum, who filed suit two weeks ago in Los Angeles over the law, said that because California represents such a large potential market for the item, the ban severely hurts business for foie gras producers. Along with the state, the complaint names Attorney General Kamala Harris and Gov. Jerry Brown.

Editor Nicole Mooradian contributed to this report.

Dr. R.T. July 18, 2012 at 08:02 PM
I feel that the owners of Hot's Kitchen should visit a farm where they produce this and actually witness how they treat the birds, force them to watch how they are force fed and how they are in a box that they can't even turn around in. Maybe after they witness and still want to purchase it then let it be but I feel that after they witness the horror they still want to sell it then the public will be aware that they have been through a farm and still choose to treat animals that way and let the consumer decide.
bev July 19, 2012 at 04:04 PM
perhaps roll a video for diners waiting for their tables...

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