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French Foie Gras Producer Cleared of Cruelty Charges

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The lawsuit was filed by an animal rights group.

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So delicious, so controversial.
So delicious, so controversial.

A major court victory for foie gras: French foie producer Ernest Soulard has been cleared of cruelty charges following a lawsuit filed by animal rights group L214, reports The Telegraph.

As previously reported, Soulard was the first-ever foie producer in France to be taken to court. The animal rights group accused his company of severely mistreating its birds, publishing shocking video in 2013 that showed filthy conditions, geese being force-fed, and even dead ducks on the production line. Following the release of said video, The Telegraph says chefs Joël Robuchon and Gordon Ramsay stopped using Soulard's product, though Alain Ducasse continued to serve it.

Soulard's company, which faced a maximum fine of €30,000 ($32,398), "claimed the pictures were fake and misleading as most were not shot in their premises." The company also "called for a €10,000 (£7,600) fine against L214 and its spokesman for 'hidden damage' for drilling holes in buildings to secretly shoot film." In the end, neither party was assessed any fine.

Although the Soulard case was the first time French foie gras had gone to court, it's a different story in America: Several court cases have popped up in the last 12 years as people attempted to either ban or protect their rights to raise or cook foie gras. In 2012 the state of California banned foie gras, though that measure was overturned earlier this year.