Here in Seattle, NARN (Northwest Animal Rights Network) has been staging protests at a local restaurant that serves foie gras. They've caught a lot of grief over it. They get laughed at by patrons and they are criticized by local paper The Stranger. I can't say I've always felt it was the best use of time.
Having said that though, I see that these types of protests have had an effect in the San Diego area. In addition, back in 2004, Governor Schwarzenegger signed a bill making foie gras illegal starting in 2012.
I guess small protests like NARN's seem futile when compared to the overwhelming issue of animal welfare, but you have to think that a number of small protests over time can have a large cumulative impact. No single effort is insignificant when combined with many others doing the exact same thing.