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Secret SF Foie Gras Feast Targeted By Animal Rights Activists

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A foie gras dish. (Frederic J. Brown)

A foie gras dish. (Frederic J. Brown)

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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) – Members of an animal rights group were expected to protest in downtown San Francisco Thursday outside of a dinner serving foie gras, the delicacy that will become illegal in California on July 1.

Animal protection advocates with the Animal Protection and Rescue League learned of the location of the dinner, which had been closely guarded for fear of drawing the attention of protesters.

Mirepoix USA, which is hosting the $65-per-person dinner at LesConcierges at 77 Maiden Lane, bills itself as the premier website for delicacies, including truffles, caviar and pate.

According to Mirepoix USA, the dinner would serve six foie gras-based hors d’oeuvres using foie gras sourced from N.Y.-based Hudson Valley Foie Gras, the nation’s largest producer of the food.

Only one foie gras producer exists in California—Sonoma Artisan Foie Gras. According to media reports, that producer had cleared nearly all of its inventory as of Monday.

The controversial dish, known by its French name meaning “fat liver,” is made from the liver of a force-fed fattened duck or goose.

In 2004, then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed legislation banning sale or production of the food, with the legislation taking effect seven-and-a-half years later, on July 1, 2012.

Mirepoix formerly operated in California but is now based in Reno, Nev., to comply with the foie gras ban.

Animal Protection and Rescue League investigators claim that conditions at the nation’s two main force feeding operations last year had not noticeably changed from what they say were cruel conditions that existed in 2004.

“We saw ducks having difficulty standing, walking and even breathing,” league investigator Dana Portnoy said.

Demonstrators will begin protesting outside the dinner at about 6:30 p.m. The dinner is scheduled to take place from 7 to 9 p.m.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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