Animal advocacy group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sent a letter Wednesday morning to Hot’s Restaurant Group asking the Hermosa Beach eatery to “swear off foie gras for good.”
In the missive, PETA said it investigated Palmex Inc., the Canadian farm it says supplies Rougie brand foie gras to Hot's, and found inhumane treatment of ducks.
California's ban on selling the fattened duck or goose liver went into effect July 1. Restaurateurs say foie gras is a delicacy crucial to maintaining culinary credibility. Animal activists condemn the dish, saying it is produced by force-feeding birds.
PETA said in its letter to Hot's that fowl housed at Palmex were living in tiny cages without access to swimming or bathing water.
"These tormented ducks are denied everything that is natural and important and pleasant to them," wrote PETA Senior Research Associate Dan Paden in the letter, which implored Hot's to reconsider serving foie gras.
Palmex, which is outside Montreal, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
[Updated, 10:20 a.m., March 8: Palmex said in a statement that PETA may have derived its video "by illegally trespassing ... while disregarding standard biosecurity protocols." The company added that many of the images "were shot at an unknown location."
Palmex ducks "are individually inspected for welfare and health compliance by Canadian Food Inspection Agency veterinarians," the company said.
"We also regret PETA's harassment methods towards respectable businesses such as ours, which provide farm labour to rural areas and supply wholesome and unadulterated food products to North America’s best restaurants," the company said.
Hot's restaurant, which is known as Hot's Kitchen, offers a sandwich listed on its menu as "THE Burger" with a "complimentary serving of foie gras."
PETA has a lawsuit pending against Hot's over the issue and says the case will go to a court hearing on April 10.