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Foie Gras, sales soon to be illegal in Chicago

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  • Pamela Rice
    http://www.redorbit.com/news/general/571108/diners_fret_as_the_sun_sets_on_foie_gras_in/index.html?source=r_general# Diners fret as the sun sets on foie gras
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 13, 2006

      Diners fret as the sun sets on foie gras in Chicago

      By Brad Dorfman

      CHICAGO (Reuters) - In a few weeks it will be
      illegal to sell foie gras in Chicago; but fans of
      the delicacy are not going quietly into the night.

      On a recent evening more than 100 of them paid
      $150 each to dine on grilled foie gras with
      cherry chutney and peppercorn brioche; salt and
      herb cured foie gras with lamb prosciutto;
      ravioli of foie gras, pheasant and apple and
      other treats as chefs talked of overturning the

      "It does bother me the way it's raised, but then
      my grandfather raised cattle in Kansas, so I'm
      very aware of what farm life is like," said Pati
      Heestand, a retired graphic designer and foie
      gras aficionado.

      Chicago's City Council in April voted to make the
      city the first in the country to ban the
      restaurant sale of foie gras, which detractors
      argue is inhumanely produced by force-feeding
      ducks and geese through a tube to fatten their

      The ban is to take effect August 22 when
      restaurants found selling foie gras will face a
      $500 fine.

      Foie gras proponents argue that the feeding of
      the high protein diet through a tube is not
      inhumane because the fowl do not have a gag
      reflex like humans. They say the extreme amount
      of feeding is somewhat similar to what the birds
      do in the wild anyway to store energy before long

      "I've been to a foie gras farm," said Dean
      Zanella, executive chef at 312 Chicago. "They
      seem very happy. I've never seen one (bird) being

      The foie gras ban prompted praise by some and
      ridicule by others worldwide, with Chicago's own
      Mayor Richard Daley suggesting the council could
      better spend its time focusing on more serious

      The chefs at this week's gathering agreed and
      contemplated strategies to combat the ban,
      including filing a lawsuit, or trying to get
      around the ban of the sale by foie gras by giving
      it away for "free" along with, say, a markedly
      overpriced $20 plate of lentils or $40 glass of


      Michael Tsonton, executive chef at Copperblue in
      Chicago and a founder of Chicago Chefs for
      Choice, a group formed after the ban was approved
      in April, said the free market should determine
      whether foie gras is sold.

      He noted that when consumers boycotted tuna
      because dolphins caught in tuna nets were harmed,
      the tuna fishing industry changed its practices.

      "If you don't like it, you don't buy it. It's a
      consumer choice issue," Tsonton said. "It's not
      an issue for legislation."

      A lawsuit planned to try to void the ordinance is
      in the works, though restaurateurs, who need city
      licenses to operate, first want assurances they
      won't be punished for going to court, he said.

      Joe Moore, the alderman who sponsored the
      ordinance, discounted the thought by some that
      once foie gras is banned other foods raised under
      practices animal rights activists decry,
      including commercially raised chickens, would be

      "It's the most egregious example of cruelty to
      animals in order to produce a product that is at
      best a luxury," Moore said, adding that he
      received hundreds of comments when the measure
      passed, with about 60 percent in favor of the

      Still, the chefs worried that the organizations
      who pushed for the foie gras ban would target
      other foods.

      "They want to ban eggs, they want to ban veal,
      they want to ban lobster, they want to ban
      everything," Allen Sternweiler, executive chef at
      Allen's The New American Cafe, where the dinner
      was held, said.
      Story from REDORBIT NEWS:

      Published: 2006/07/13 08:33:00 CDT

      © RedOrbit 2005

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