Close Loophole that Allows California Restaurants to Serve Foie Gras for Free

Target: California State Legislature

Goal: Close loophole that allows restaurants to serve foie gras for free

Despite the recent ban of the sale of foie gras, the fatty liver of the duck or goose, restaurants in California continue to bypass the law and serve this delicacy. The sale and production of foie gras was officially banned on July 1, 2012, forcing restaurants to scramble and sell as many foie gras plates as possible. However, due to the phrasing of the law, giving out foie gras for free would not be considered illegal.

The Playground restaurant in Santa Ana, CA, hosted a foie gras burger eating contest on August 11, 2012 and named the burger, “Shut the Duck Up Burger,” a clear jab at the recent law banning foie gras. The restaurant claimed that they were not violating the law because participants were paying for entrance fees  rather than for the foie gras dish. Confusion regarding the specificity of the law has given foie gras producers and restaurant owners many options around the law. The law clearly states that foie gras must not be sold in California. It does not mention whether or not producers from other states can sell to markets in California, nor does it say whether or not restaurants can serve foie gras as a free side.

Violation of this law can lead to a $1000 fine, but some restaurants are not concerned because police have not been enforcing the law. It is important to ensure that the police are doing their jobs and fine the restaurants that are serving foie gras. Finding every restaurant in violation of the law is impossible, but punishing those that are outwardly displaying foie gras distribution, such as Playground, would be integral.

The production of foie gras exploits thousands of innocent ducks and geese as they are forcibly fed through tubes that are inserted into their throats and stomachs. Force feeding makes the liver fatter faster than natural feeding, which allows foie gras producers to maximize on their profits.

This cruel practice must be banned permanently, and Californian officials should make sure the police are enforcing the new law. Most importantly, lawmakers have to revise this new law to specify what exactly is illegal when it comes to the distribution of foie gras in California to prevent restaurants from attempting to bypass the law.


Dear California State Legislature,

The California law making sales of foie gras illegal, placed into effect on July 1, 2012, was a huge step for animal activists and animal welfare. However, the phrasing of the law has rendered it ineffective as many restaurants find loopholes and continue to serve the delicacy. The law states that no one can sell foie gras, but it does not mention anything in regards to serving foie gras for free. Many southern California restaurants are charging $20 for a cracker, or any other cheap sides, while claiming the foie gras in the dish is free. Playground restaurant recently hosted a foie gras burger eating contest, in which it claimed that participants paid for the entrance fee and not the foie gras.

It is important to acknowledge the loopholes related to the law and amend it to ensure the welfare of ducks and geese. Force feeding is a horrid practice and the ducks and geese suffer greatly from it. If the law is amended, it will be harder for restaurants to bypass the law. Furthermore, police must enforce the law and fine restaurants that are in violation.

The law is a huge step in promoting better treatment of animals in general and through amendments; this law can be better enforced and the welfare of ducks and geese will significantly improve. I urge you to attempt to close these loopholes and work on new legislation that would clarify what really is illegal in the distribution of foie gras.


[Your Name Here]

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  1. Why don’t they ban and abolished the production of foie gras? There is always a loophole to most every law, especially when animals are concerned.

    • I agree. If you believe this is cruel (there are counterarguments that you can investigate if you want to have the facts before making a judgment; go to the Hudson Valley website to see videos of the practice), then the way to attack it is to ban the cruel practice, not the resale of the ultimate product. The law as written doesn’t address any cruelty.

  2. Daniela Bress says:

    People, who do not even have to go hungry should be ashamed of torturing animals, just to get an alleged delicacy on the table and even call themselves a civilized human society -how ridiculous!

  3. For this ban to work, the whole United States needs to ban it, I hope you guys do, but I doubt it will happen.

  4. Tom Christensen says:

    Bans don’t work. Sorry, but if you want people to stop eating Foie Gras, a ban is the worst way to go around it. You’ve now made it a popular, dangerous, sexy food, which people will pay a premium to have. It’s like the geniuses who had Marijuana banned; that worked out just great!

    If you want to ban foie gras, you have to do what everyone else has done: spend years doing tiresome, wearying outreach and education, until eating it becomes considered socially vulgar.

    But getting it banned is much easier. Despite not working. It’s a silly, stupid action by anti-FG activists, so they can pat each other on the back. Good job, you’ve accomplished nothing.

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