Foodies flock to foie gras dinner as ban approaches


Animal rights advocates chanted as loud as they could as people made their way to a sold-out foie gras party on Maiden Lane.

"It's messed up, I mean seriously it's messed up; when you think about what foie gras is, it's kind of the pinnacle of human arrogance if you ask me," protester Rod Middleton said.

Foie gras means "fatty liver" in French and people who attended the party savored every bite, because starting July 1, producing, selling and buying foie gras is going to be illegal in California. A series of ABC7 News I-Team reports in 2003 exposed how ducks are force-fed for foie gras, which led to the passage of the bill banning the delicacy.

"I thought that I'd never see the day that I can smoke pot openly in San Francisco and hide my foie gras habit," foie gras enthusiast Tony Hnyp said.

Online foie gras retailer Mirepoix USA threw the party as a way to say "thank you" to its customers for their business over the years.

The business moved from Napa to Nevada in anticipation of the ban and the owner says business couldn't be better. Online orders are through the roof. People are stocking up, paying as much as $150 a pound for frozen foie gras.

"I think that this ban has completely backfired," owner Laurel Pine said. "I think that there's more demand for foie gras than ever. I think when people's right to do something or to have something that they enjoy is taken away, they want it that much more."

And when the frozen stuff runs out, there may be another way for Californians to buy foie gras without having to travel out of state -- a few companies are talking about setting up a system allowing people to buy the fatty liver by way of a courier.

All of this is upsetting to animal rights advocates.

"If you knew that you were actually destroying an animal's liver just to make it taste better, no humane person would support that," Carter Dillard said. "You're either uneducated or there's something wrong with you. You're deeply cruel."

California chefs are hoping to have the ban overturned next year. They've found at least one state senator who may author a bill on their behalf.

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