An animal rights group filed a lawsuit against the owners of Hot's Cantina in Northridge for allegedly trying to skirt the state's ban on selling foie gras, the organization announced Wednesday.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals contends in the Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit that Hot's Kitchen is violating the law, which took effect July 1, by offering foie gras as a "complimentary" side dish served with a burger.
"No restaurant can act outside the law by illegally selling the diseased livers of abused birds, and PETA wil help make sure that this one doesn't," PETA general counsel Jeff Kerr said. "Serving a 'complimentary side of foie gras' is as cruel as it is unlawful."
Hot's officials could not be reached for comment. Shortly after the state's ban took effect, a restaurant chef told a local reporter the eatery was not violating the law by serving foie gras as a free side dish, noting that the price of the burger remains the same even if the customer does not want the side dish.
Hot's Restaurant Group, which also operates an eatery in Hermosa Beach, filed a federal lawsuit earlier this year challenging the ban, but a judge in downtown Los Angeles rejected a request for a court order allowing the continued sales of the delicacy.
Restaurants that violate the ban can face fines up to $1,000.
Foie gras is usually produced through a process in which ducks or geese are force-fed corn through tubes inserted in their throats, a practice seen as inhumane by animal rights activists.