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Animal Lovers Fight Foie Gras Lovers in SoCal

SAN DIEGO (CN) - An animal rights group wants a restaurant barred from advertising its foie gras as "humanely produced," because it's made by force-feeding geese, in a class action in Superior Court.

The Animal Protection and Rescue League sued Hot's Kitchen, of Hermosa Beach, and its co-owner and executive chef, Sean Cheney. Those are the only two defendants.

The APRL and other animal rights groups have fought foie gras for years because they view force feeding, to engorge animals' livers before slaughter, as inhumane.

The animal rights league claims the defendants issued a false press release on April 4, stating: "We believe in the rights of animals and the humane production of foie gras. At Hot's Kitchen we hope to raise awareness for this cause and against the unethical treatment of ducks and geese by supporting C.H.E.F.S. [undefined] through the sale of our foie gras burger."

The complaint continues: "However, defendants' foie gras burger is not humanely produced, because the ducks are cruelly force fed to enlarge their livers to up to 12 times their normal size. Defendants are falsely representing that they are in favor of 'the rights of animals and the humane production of foie gras' in order to promote and sell cruelly produced foie gras."

According to the complaint, geese are force fed through metal pipes jammed down their throats, through which corn mash is fed for about 30 seconds. The fatty liver produced by this is prized by gourmets.

The APRL claims that most foie gras sold in the United States comes from Hudson Valley Foie Gras, in New York. The only other major domestic foie gras producer, Sonoma Foie Gras, near Stockton, must stop force-feeding or close by July 1 because of a new California law, according to the complaint.

The animal rights league claims the defendants are falsely advertising that their foie gras is produced humanely. It seeks a restraining order and injunction barring defendants from "continuing to make the false and misleading claims that are the subject of this suit," under the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act.

The league is represented by Bryan Pease, of San Diego.

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