Activists Hack Foie Gras Producer’s Website and Release Customer Details
Activists have taken a new approach to protest cruelty to ducks and geese by hacking the website of the nation’s largest foie gras producer – Hudson Valley Foie Gras (HVFG).
In a letter submitted to the North American Animal Liberation Press Office (NAALPO), the hackers wrote:
“For Earth Day we targeted Hudson Valley Foie Gras, the largest foie gras farm in the United States. Hudson Valley Foie Gras tortures birds and pollutes the earth. The company has been fined tens of thousands of dollars for violations of the Clean Water Act.
We temporarily took down their website (www.hudsonvalleyfoiegras.com ) and online store, and uncovered name/address/phone number/credit card details for over 1,200 customers who purchased foie gras and duck flesh products between June 2012 and April 2013.”
The activists targeted customers and chefs in California, where foie gras is banned and also released their information to Negotiation is Over!
Foie gras supporters are calling the actions of both the hackers and others who helped distribute the information shameful, including Amar Santana, chef-owner of Broadway by Amar Santana, who is still serving foie gras and circumventing the ban by offering it for free with a $55 glass of wine.
Jerry W. Vlasak, press officer for the NAALPO told the OC Register he doesn’t care.
As long as he is complicit in animal cruelty, I donít particularly care what he thinks. As a press organization, we are just passing along information made public and which exists elsewhere in the public domain. As someone who buys and sells foie gras, he is responsible for the untold suffering of ducks and geese who are mistreated and then killed to produce a delicacy for the rich.
HVFG sent a statement to Eater assuring everyone that no customers’ credit card information was compromised and that the actions are being investigated by state and federal authorities.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) sent a letter to California’s Attorney General following the hack asking that the ban on the production and sale of foie gras be upheld and that those defying the law be investigated, along with pointing out the state could recoup hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines levied against HVFG.
“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.”
Like other cruel foie gras producers, HVFG force feeds ducks large quantities of grain to produce diseased livers via gavage — a production practice that will never be humane and has been banned in more than a dozen countries over animal welfare concerns including the United Kingdom, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Israel, Norway, Poland, Sweden and Switzerland.
Unfortunately for HVFG this isn’t its only headache at the moment. The New York-based company is also being sued for false advertising for calling its product “the Humane Choice” by the ALDF and co-plaintiff, Ella Nemcova, who operates The Regal Vegan, a Brooklyn-based company that offers a legitimately humane plant-based alternative – Faux Gras.
According to the ALDF this marks the first time a humane competitor has joined forces with an animal protection group and used false advertising to bring a case to federal court. HVFG tried to have the case dismissed, but was unsuccessful. The court ruled that the company violated the federal Lanham Act and Californiaís False Advertising and Unfair Competition Laws.
“The courtís decision demonstrates that misleading well-intentioned consumers is actionable under the law. Consumers deserve to know the truth about the exploitation of ducks and the reality behind foie grasís force-fed lies,” said Wells. “The Animal Legal Defense Fund will hold Hudson Valley accountable for its cruelty and deception.”
Warning: video contains graphic images.
Photo credit: Thinkstock