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Activists Ask California to Investigate Leaked Foie Buyers

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State capitol of California.
State capitol of California.
Photo: proimos / Flickr

The animal rights troublemakers over at the Animal Legal Defense Fund are at it again: they've sent a letter California Attorney General Kamala Harris asking her to investigate the California residents that appeared on a hacked list of people who purchased items from Hudson Valley Foie Gras. Their reasoning? California is broke and could use the $1,000 fines the statewide foie gras ban would allow them to collect from each offender.

To quote the ALDF letter:

"While wealthy restaurateurs and foreign corporations are exploiting California's under enforcement of the foie gras law, the state struggles with a budget crisis and cities flirt with bankruptcy. California taxpayers should not be subsidizing persistent violators when the state is nearly bankrupt and the foie gras law authorizes citations payable to enforcing agencies up to $1,000 per sale."

Among these "wealthy restaurateurs and foreign corporations" on the leaked list is chef Amar Santana, who backed down after being threatened by PETA for serving foie because "I wish I had the money to fight PETA, but we don't." Hudson Valley Foie Gras is located in New York state and issued a response to the leaked customers earlier. Below, a press release from the ALDF as well as the letter they sent to AG Harris.


Attorney General Asked to Investigate State Foie Gras Ban Violations After List of Hudson Valley Foie Gras Purchasers Is Made Public

SAN FRANCISCO – Today, the national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) sent a letter to California Attorney General Kamala Harris urging her to enforce California's ban on force-fed foie gras, a day after hackers released a list of sales from New York's Hudson Valley Foie Gras (HVFG), the nation's largest foie gras producer. The list reveals that HVFG has been flouting California law by selling to nearly 250 customers in the state after the ban went into effect last year. ALDF's letter appeals to General Harris to thoroughly investigate and enforce these violations, which will allow the fiscally troubled state of California to potentially recoup hundreds of thousands of dollars via fines levied on HVFG.

Under California Health and Safety Code section 25982, which took effect July 1, 2012, "a product may not be sold in California if it is the result of force feeding a bird for the purpose of enlarging the bird's liver beyond normal size." Foie gras, a food made by force-feeding geese and ducks until their livers expand up to eight or more times their natural size, is the product of a painful liver disease known as hepatic lipidosis. A civil penalty of an amount up to $1,000 for each violation may be payable to the state, according to California Health & Safety Code section 25983(b).

"Hundreds of thousands of ducks suffer immensely in the cruel process of force-feeding," said Stephen Wells, ALDF executive director. "At a time like this, we cannot afford to be subsidizing rich out-of-state corporations by ignoring the money they owe this state. We hope Attorney General Harris will act on this information, which indicates Hudson Valley Foie Gras has intentionally disregarded California law."

· ALDF Urges Investigation of California Foie Gras Purchases [Scribd]
· All Foie Gras Coverage on Eater [-E-]