A friend emailed to alert me that at 3:00 p.m. today, the Chicago City Council voted 36 to 6 to repeal the ban on sales of foie gras in Chicago.  I’ll forgo comments on the irony of one of the most forward thinking chef cities in the world having a city council so ill-informed about the farming of livestock in this country that it banned foie gras. Cheers to Chicago for reversing the ban.


81 Wonderful responses to “Chicago Repeals Foie Gras Ban”

  • EdTheRed

    I do believe I shall celebrate this triumph of sanity this weekend by preparing something involving foie gras…not that I live in Chicago, but I’ll take any excuse to eat foie gras…

  • Paul Leddy

    As a Chicagoan, I am very happy to hear this news…Does this mean that when Marcus Samuelson opens C-House restaurant (opening soon in the city), will he offer the wonderful Foie Gras Genache dish that is at his Aquavit restaurant?

    When I was a chef, I took a tour of New York restuarants with one of my chef buddies and I will never forget that course. About two bites into it, he said “I don’t want this course ever to end…”

    Death by Chocolate? No! Death by Foie Gras? Yes!

  • milo

    I am glad to hear that this ban was overturned, although I don’t eat the stuff myself.

    But I don’t agree with “ill-informed about the farming of livestock in this country”. What misconception do you think they had about it? It seems to me they were completely informed about it, just that it’s not the sort of thing a city government should be meddling in. That said, I could see a ban on force feeding and products coming from the practice instead of just banning the product overall (which also shuts out humanely raised stuff, which a recent post on this blog suggests is not just possible, but may produce results as good or better).

  • Messy

    I’m still dancing around the kitchen!

    The ban happened when a gullible and seemingly not-too-bright alderman (sadly, from my neighborhood) watched an grainy, much-altered, ancient film of unknown origin decrying the “murder” of innocent ducks for their livers. Naturally, he then wasted several days of the City Council’s time with this by-law and actually got it passed.

    There were rebels, fear not. Several restaurants started serving mysterious and expensive appetisers (like mac and cheese for $25.00) with a foie gras “garnish”. It was legal because they weren’t actually selling foie gras, you see.

    Hot Doug’s, a lunch joint of renown (try the frites finished in duck fat if you get a chance – pure heaven) happily paid the fine and continued to serve their foie gras dog. I love those subversive guys!

    As soon as I heard, I called one of our favorite restaurants and booked a table after ascertaining that they would indeed have some of the glorious liver in stock. The Boy is, as I write this, perusing the online wine list of the restaurant.

  • Darcie

    Good to hear. That was silly and a waste of the government’s time.

    Now if only we could make progress with the FDA (I think that’s the agency that has authority) on raw milk un-aged cheeses…

  • Bob delGrosso

    I’m not sure I’d open the raw milk worm can here and now. But this may be the right moment to remind everyone that The State of California has adopted legislation that will ban foie gras by 2012.

  • milo

    Messy, are you sure Hot Doug’s kept serving it? I know they did for a while, but after multiple fines and confiscation of a big stock of foie gras, I thought they finally gave in and stopped serving it. Correct me if I’m wrong.

    I was just there for lunch today, probably right about the time they were voting on this. I bet Doug is quite happy (although I know he loved the publicity and sympathy he got when he got busted).

  • Vinotas

    Thank God! I don’t like the idea of anyone, especially the government, telling me what I can and can’t eat. Stay out of my belly!

  • Messy

    Sshhh. Things went pretty much as you say, but this is Chicago, after all. I have a sneaking suspicion…and there are rumors….but sadly, I am not in the Inner Circle to know such things for a fact in this town. I do know that Doug loved his scofflaw status and milked it for everything he could (which is a good thing).

    Now, have you ever been to Kuma’s Corner for burgers? Last time we went there for lunch we got there at about 11:30 and were lucky to get a seat at the bar. I wonder if they’ll do a foie gras burger?

    Then, there was the steak frites with the foie gras for a time at the Hopleaf….the possibilities are staggering. I can see that I’ll have to spend more time in the gym, just so I can – um – test, yeah test all the foie gras possibilities now that the ban is lifted.

  • milo

    Kuma’s is awesome, although I have had other burgers there I prefer to their namesake burger. I wouldn’t be surprised if they try a foie gras burger at some point, the last one I had there had pears poached in bourbon.

    Have you tried the burger at Sweets and Savories? Used to come with foie gras, which they continued after the ban but after a while you had to ask for that particular topping. Great burger and probably the best fries I’ve ever had (and I’ve had some damn good ones). Generally pricey for a burger but they have it for a $10 special on wednesday nights. Definitely worth checking out if you haven’t already.

  • Bob

    Great…. too bad I left Chicago just a week or so ago… damn…

    As for California – still got 4 years… Being from the SF Bay Area, I know I have alot of work to do to educate the looneys. I try… but the animal-rights goons in front of Draeger’s have TOTALLY closed minds when it comes to this discussion.

    But good for Chicago… my fave from my trip? Blackbird – hands down. Sturgeon so good I nearly started weeping.

  • Elly

    I was so happy to see this reported in the Trib earlier. I mean, really, how ridiculous was this for any city, let alone Chicago?!

    I wonder if my Sweets & Savories burger will taste as good now that I am eating it legally? 🙂

  • BB

    Do you think a “big confiscation of foie gras” ends up like “big confiscation of marijuana”, i.e., can you imagine the Chicago P.D. coming home with pockets and pantlines stuffed with foie gras?


    That’s the first time I’ve ever wanted to be a cop. Ever.

  • Steven Morehead

    This is great news!!! The only thing I don’t understand is the trend of combining foie with something so average as a hamburger or a hot dog? It’s kind of like driving an F1 car but never taking it out of first gear, sure you look cool, you can probably go 100mph but why not do the work and shift and go 250? If you need your foie in forcemeat fashion why not read a book someone we know wrote that has a foie gras and duck sausage recipe in it. Or maybe have a pate en croute with foie in it? And if you need beef with your foie Tournedos Lili (2337) or tournedos favorite (2324) would do nicely. Sorry for the long post but I love foie gras!!!

  • Messy

    Steven…..we’re talking a slab of foie gras tossed casually on top of the burger. Chicagoans are purists with their food, you know. We want to see our foie gras in all it’s delicious glory!

    BB… When the ban was first announced, I had visions similar to the old photos we see when Prohibition was enacted. Instead of large men with axes pounding holes in beer kegs, though, I pictured chillers and refrigerators set on fire in the middle of streets all over the city and hemp-clad folk dancing around them in a hideous parody of joy. Imagine, if you will, thousands of ducks and geese, crammed into enclosures at no-kill shelters, unable to perform their ultimate duty at the table.

    Oh, the horror! 😉

  • milo

    Stephen, we’re not taking about just throwing it on any old hot dog or hamburger.

    Hot Doug’s has a huge selection of high end sausages including things like duck, venison, and a bunch of other game and exotic things. I don’t know offhand which sausage he paired with foie gras but I’m sure it was an appropriate choice.

    Sweets and Savories does their burger on american kobe with truffle mayo on a great roll – it is spectacular and it does showcase the foie. And as I mentioned already, their fries are the best I’ve ever had. I went to Bouchon in vegas after seeing the episode where Bourdain raved about the fries – they were excellent, but the ones at S&S were far better.

    Doug’s has really good fries as well, but there isn’t enough of a difference between the duck fat fries and the regular ones to make it worth it for me (especially since the line stretches around the block on the days when they have the duck fat ones).

    For any Chicago folk, Sweets and Savories is doing a special dinner on May 22 to celebrate lifting the ban. Six course tasting menu with wine and foie gras involved in every course. I’m curious what dessert he’ll come up with that will include duck liver.

  • kristin

    Chicago will now cease in being a laughing stock,riddiculed and scorned all at the same time. I have however heard that this may be in attempt to get an Olympic bid in the future. Not sure how true that is but good news for a city that is no longer playing second fiddle to New York as a heavy hitter in the foodie world.

  • rockandroller

    This is great news, though I doubt it will change California’s plans.

  • milo

    In the case of chicago, people have said thing like “laughing stock”. I’m very curious if similar comments will be made when (assuming it happens) when California bans it. Will the restaurants of say, Napa suddenly become “second fiddle” just because they can’t serve foie gras? Does banning a product that 99% of the citizens in the city will probably never eat really make the city a “laughing stock”? Or has this just been an excuse for anti-midwestern snobbery?

    Chicago has been a heavy hitter in the food world for years, foie gras or not.

  • Ulla

    I love this blog. I am starting to think that the our civilization’s future rest in the hands of chefs. I could not agree more that our societal ignorance of agricultural methods is disturbing. I am happy to see that this ban was repealed. When killing animals becomes so abstract I think that bans like this are inevitable. Killing a cow is repugnant to more and more people—people who have never had the pleasure of raising a happy, healthy cow and seeing the the slaughter of the animals is part of a cycle of life we have been part of since we civilized ourself with farming. I really do think that people who are not introduced to the the ethical complexities of animal husbandry think about life in a more abstract way. This results in bad things, namely veganism, the war in Iraq and bans like this. Are chefs the only sane people in America left?

  • Veronica Perez

    I wonder if that is effective immediately. I’m going to Chicago this weekend to attend the Restaurant show. I wonder if that vote had something to do with that.

  • milo

    Veronica, supposedly it was effective immediately, and some restaurants said they would serve it that night.

    If you have a specific restaurants in mind, I’d give them a call.

    Ulla, you have a pretty bizarre system of ethics if your category of “bad things” puts together the Iraq war and veganism!

  • Ulla

    Maybe my ethics are all over the place—I am no absolutist. I think that when killing becomes abstract strange this happen. We have illegal immigrants— who have no rights— kill our animals now. It is not surprising that suburban kids are attracted to veganism and we as a society collectively subscribe to something as insanely stupid as the war in Iraq.

  • Edgewater Joe

    Maybe now Bourdain will FINALLY do a “No Reservations” show (or two) about Chicago?

    I mean, if he can do Cleveland (and I still have most of my family there) …

  • Adele

    Glad the ban was lifted and sorry I wasn’t at the city council meeting, which must have been a hoot. Our mayor (Daley — in my life time, if you were asked the name of the Chicago mayor and answered, “Daley,” you would have been right more often than not) refused to let the alderman, who introduced the foie gras ban, speak, and I guess things got pretty heated. I expect Cyrano’s — a small bistro, serving some very good food, will also be planning a celebratory meal, soon. I wonder what Charlie Trotter has to say.

  • Adele

    Oh yeah, I forgot to say that one of the most amusing parts of the bits of the city council meeting I did hear, were the many mis-pronunciations of “foie gras.”

  • milo

    Trotter was quoted in one of the articles I read but I can’t find it right now. He basically said that he doesn’t serve it for his own reasons and that he has always opposed the ban and wasn’t happy that the fact that he doesn’t serve it was used as an argument to support the ban.

  • milo

    Ah, found it.

    “I was never in favor of the ban to begin with,” Trotter said. “I was appalled when Joe Moore decided to list my name as an advocate of this point of view. He wanted me to come out and support this thing. I have my own reasons for not serving this product, but don’t get me involved in his mess.”

  • e. nassar

    That is GREAT!! What got them to change their minds on this dumb ban? Did Grant serve them a tour dinner based entirely on Foie Gras??

  • DanaMc

    I’m glad our city decided to repeal the ban. It’s interesting to note that this occurs hot on the tail of the May 13 announcement that Chicago will have a second “Taste of Chicago” – a Gourmet Taste.

    “Chicago Gourmet, billed as “a celebration of food and wine,” is expected to feature several of the city’s nationally known chefs when it runs from Sept. 26-28 in Millennium Park.”

    More details available in the Chicago Trib article

    I sense that fat alderman and men* in toques battled it out in a smoke filled backroom.

    *and women

  • Amy

    Uhhh Guess what?

    Posted by Dan Mihalopoulos at 1:47 p.m.

    Mayor Richard Daley and his City Council allies repealed the city’s foie gras ban this week before animal rights activists could mobilize and make a peep in protest.

    But foie gras foes are determined not to let the mayor clip their wings, planning a candlelight vigil at 7 p.m. Friday at City Hall as a demonstration against the reversal of the ban.

    According to a statement from leaders of the Chicago-based Mercy for Animals, the purpose of the vigil is “to mourn the loss of the humane measure and pay tribute to horrific suffering endured by ducks.”

    If you’re in the Loop and curious about how the duck-liver delicacy is said to be produced, the protesters promise to screen surreptitiously-recorded footage of “birds locked in cages so small they can’t spread their wings, suffering open wounds and having metal rods violently jammed down their throats during the forced-feeding process.”


  • christey

    i agree, about time. I think it’s hilarious all the posts about this in the food-blogging community 🙂

  • christey

    i agree, about time. I think it’s hilarious all the posts about this in the food-blogging community 🙂

  • Cameron S

    I don’t agree with banning fois gras. Its a silly scapegoat for the evils of factory farming.

    We force feed beef massive amounts of corn. We then pile them with medication in vile feed lots to keep the corn down.

    We force feed pigs, pumping them full of drugs.

    Until we look at systemic change, rather than stupid tokenism, fois gras is a silly target.

    Its easy to tilt windmills against fancy restaurants while ignoring the rest of this.

    Anyways, this is a positive sign for individual choice in Chicago.

  • Tom H

    California is not going to become a laughing stock when they ban foie gras. It’s already been a laughing stock for decades.

  • Mike T


    In any case… good for Chicago. As far as a candlelight vigil… Activists who focus on Foie are missing the forest for the trees. The only reason they fight lies in the lack of corporate money supporting foie. They only pick fights they can win. (Thankfully only temporarily in this case)

  • Maya

    It’s so weird that a city would ban one practice. I have an idea, how about a ban on kicking cows in the face, or waterboarding sick cows so they stand up right before a USDA inspection?

    How about a ban on cramming hundreds of poultry into feces-infested cages until their feet grow into the cage and a new zoonotic virus that could wipe out thousands of people crops up?

    I hope the government wises up.

  • milo

    “Until we look at systemic change, rather than stupid tokenism, fois gras is a silly target.”

    I think their goal is to take on one target at a time. Sure, foie is an easy target compared to beef or chicken…and that’s exactly why they picked it, because they have a shot at getting some results.

    And many of the people who oppose foie gras DO also oppose factory farming…they just haven’t had as much success taking action against that.

    There are plenty of reasons to oppose bans like this. But the fact that there are bigger problems in the world of food is a pretty stupid one. It’s like saying the cops aren’t able to catch all murderers so they should stop bothering to try and catch bank robbers.

  • Maya

    I agree with you Milo, that we need small steps. However this ban was destined to fail because it targeted a fad. Bans against fads disappear as quickly as the fads themselves.

    If we want small steps, we should impose a larger minimum space requirement so that poulty animals don’t have to go insane crammed into hellish, feces-encrusted cages. Or ban cages altogehter and allow them to live in fenced in areas instead.

  • Cali

    Yeah, let’s ban all “factory farming,” what a great idea!

    I live in the country, where we have room for gardens, where the poultry, sheep, goats, pigs, dairy and beef cattle live, where people can raise their own. Yup, me and mine? We’ll be just fine. All the city dwellers, and most importantly the ignorant people asking for all these food bans, well… you’ll all starve in under a year.

  • Erin @ The Skinny Gourmet

    Of course, the funniest thing about the so-called “ban” was that not only were there foie gras speakeasies, but many high end restaurants continued to blatantly list foie gras on their menus and their websites. The ban was all smoke and no fire.

  • luis

    Bourdain has a utube on foie gras. He interviews a farmer and steps us through the process. Not inhumane. But that is not to say that there are no bad actors in this world. It does illustrate the fact that producing foie gras doesn’t need to be harsh or inhumane to the animals. The basis for the Chich ban on foie gras is incorrect. Bad farms must be stopped in a different way. You don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

  • Line cook

    I guess the nitwits at the vigil hadn’t heard that the AVMA has declared gavage to be humane for years.

  • faustianbargain

    to line cook: AVMA? really? the same AVMA that still hasnt raised a beep against gestation crates? the same AVMA that approves and supports face branding of cattle? the AVMA that sees no problem with trappers using steel jaw traps that slams and cuts off the limbs of trapped animals? could this be the same AVMA that has declined to take a position on gavage..for or against? surely, you’d know!

    to luis, bourdain is busy force feeding himself to see sense. you really shouldnt take him too seriously.

  • faustianbargain

    It is presumed that under ideal conditions a force-fed duck will not experience injury or liver necrosis, will retain the ability to stand and move around, and can be transported to slaughter without injury. In the absence of empirical studies the welfare of this ideal animal is difficult to judge, as is the prevalence of more severe compromises to welfare.

    The known potential risks associated with foie gras production, are:

    * Potential for injury due to multiple insertions of a long feeding tube, with possibility of secondary infection;
    * Distress from restraint and manipulations associated with force feeding;
    * Compromised health and welfare resulting from obesity, including the potential for impaired locomotion and lethargy; and
    * Creation of a vulnerable animal more likely to suffer from otherwise tolerable conditions such as heat and transport.

    Some of these risks can be mitigated by effective management. There is evidence of industry efforts to use modern feeding equipment, improve feed tube design and provide ducks with a familiar handler. Other refinements might include immediate identification and removal of injured animals and moderation of feeding levels to strike a balance between product yield and animal welfare.

    The few empirical studies that have been conducted would benefit from validation of method, more robust use of controls, and independent replication. There is a clear and pressing need for research that focuses on the condition of ducks during fattening, including the actual incidence and severity of animal welfare risks on the farm. This would allow deficits to be accurately identified and ameliorated. Until this occurs, estimates of the welfare condition of ducks used to produce foie gras will be approximate, based upon the severity of the manipulations (force feeding) and resultant deviations from normal health (marked obesity).

    (END Summary of AVMA report, Welfare implications of foie gras production dated sept 24, 2007)

    source: http://www.avma.org/issues/animal_welfare/foie_gras_bgnd.asp

    AVMA takes NO stance on welfare of foie gras production or gavage.


  • Line cook

    Apparently, my info was outdated.

    They had, however, recommended opposing foie bans since 2006.

    I’d love to pull the article, but they want to charge me $1.00.

  • Cameron S

    Milo – I don’t think government intervention is the answer for what should be a matter of education and personal choice. I don’t need the government to make more of my decisions for me.

    Take a look at food production numbers to see how small fois gras production is.

    Worldwide production of fois is about 25,000 tonnes a year.

    Global Beef production is 62,000,000 tonnes
    Global Pork production is 108,000,000 tonnes
    Poultry is 83,000,000 tonnes
    276,000,000 tonnes of meat were produced in 2006

    Fois gras represents around .01% / 0.009% of the total meat market.

    It is not stupid at all to think people should focus on meaningful change than fois gras that is such an incredibly small part of meat production globally. The US consumes a small part of fois gras so banning attempts here represent a few drops out of the bucket.

    Your crime fighting analogy is a straw man argument at best.

  • faustianbargain

    to line cook: perhaps, you should come up with the $1 or not.

    It is a misconception that AVMA has anything to do with welfare of animals. It’s operations is wholly about welfare of the agricultural and farm operators and their profits. AVMA’s advisory position re the welfare of animals is secondary and it exists to serve the agriculture and animal husbandry industries.

    (BEGIN AVMA Report: Farm visits influence foie gras vote dated Sept 01, 2005)

    Two resolutions were before the HOD opposing the practice of force-feeding ducks and geese to produce foie gras. One of them was a compromise version that had garnered some bilateral support from the AVMA leadership and animal rights advocates. It became obvious as delegates began their discourse, however, that a groundswell of support was building to refrain from adopting an AVMA opposition statement.

    Delegates disapproved both resolutions.

    Deliberations in the HOD centered not around which resolution was preferable, but whether to adopt a position on the practice at all. Two lines of reasoning ensued—determining what science says about the health and welfare effects of this practice, and whether it is advisable for the AVMA to take positions on specific production practices.


    The issue emerged in the 2004 HOD, which referred a resolution opposing this practice to the Animal Welfare Committee for study. Subsequently, the AWC reviewed the scientific and ethical aspects of the practice and, in response, developed a different recommendation for Executive Board consideration.

    This past April, the Executive Board forwarded the AWC’s recommendation to the HOD as a resolution—Resolution 3—so that delegates could decide the issue that originated in their chamber. It states: “Resolved, that the AVMA opposes the practice of mechanical force feeding of ducks and geese to produce foie gras because of the adverse effects on the birds’ health and welfare associated with this practice.”

    The board recommended that the 2005 HOD approve Resolution 3 and disapprove the 2004 resolution—this year’s Resolution 1—which states: “Resolved, that the American Veterinary Medical Association hereby opposes the practice of force feeding ducks and geese to produce foie gras.”


    Prohibiting production of foie gras in the United States would have a minimal impact on agricultural markets, but several delegates expressed concern that efforts to oppose foie gras production were just “baby steps” by groups with much more ambitious goals. Many of the 13 delegates who spoke to the resolutions were food supply veterinarians who foresaw adoption of a position statement opposing foie gras production as having the potential for a domino effect on other agricultural practices.


    Dr. McCarthy said that if the New York Veterinary Medical Society were to oppose foie gras production, its veterinarians would fully expect opposition to methods used to produce veal calves and other livestock to follow. Referring to the positions proposed by the resolutions, he said that opponents of production agriculture could easily propose modifications to those positions that would make them applicable to other stock.


    Two of those people are New Jersey and Vermont delegates, Drs. Robert P. Gordon and Thomas L. Munschauer.


    On July 5, he visited a farm in New York. “After being on the premises, my position changed dramatically,” Dr. Gordon said. “I did not see animals I would consider distressed, and I didn’t see pain and suffering.”


    Dr. Munschauer visited a New York farm at the request of “both sides” and was conflicted by what he saw. “I didn’t see exploding esophaguses … and it didn’t seem like the birds were distressed,” he said. He judged the facility to be better than most places where broilers are raised. The birds were obese toward the end of the three weeks but still able to walk. They didn’t swim or preen, and they were dirty but not more than other birds. “For the most part, they appear to be well-cared-for,” he said. “That’s what I saw.

    “Now, let me say what I think—it is not a good use of these animals,” Dr. Munschauer said. Even if they are treated in a reasonable way from a factory-farming standpoint, he said, the production of foie gras induces disease.

    Veterinarians may condone the induction of disease in animals for research to learn how tumors are formed, for example, because that benefits society. Inducing disease to produce a food delicacy does not benefit society, he said.

    Delegates had differing views, however, on whether a disease process is induced. Dr. McCarthy, for example, insisted that the practice isn’t part of a pathologic process, and Dr. Harris said it is a physiologic not a pathologic process. Nebraska delegate, Dr. Theodore Evans Jr., pointed out that feeding enriched diets in cattle is an existing practice that also induces diseases such as laminitis, acidosis, and fatty liver.


    Similarly, from the AAAP, alternate delegate Dr. Greg J. Cutler said, “We need to be looking at animal welfare from a broad policy position … that can then be applied to all animal operations.”

    (END snippage of AVMA report: Farm visits influence foie gras vote)

    source: http://www.avma.org/onlnews/javma/sep05/050901q.asp

    dated: sept 1, 2005.

  • faustianbargain

    cameron.s: no, it is important that foie gras production methods are studied and banned because even though it is a small compared to beef or pig farming. if you read my previous comment to line cook, you’d see that one of the reasons AVMA doesnt take a position on foie gras production standards is because if they do, they will have to insist on such practices and better standards for other operations like veal or chicken or cattle production.

    copied again for you..

    Prohibiting production of foie gras in the United States would have a minimal impact on agricultural markets, but several delegates expressed concern that efforts to oppose foie gras production were just “baby steps” by groups with much more ambitious goals. Many of the 13 delegates who spoke to the resolutions were food supply veterinarians who foresaw adoption of a position statement opposing foie gras production as having the potential for a domino effect on other agricultural practices.


    Dr. McCarthy said that if the New York Veterinary Medical Society were to oppose foie gras production, its veterinarians would fully expect opposition to methods used to produce veal calves and other livestock to follow. Referring to the positions proposed by the resolutions, he said that opponents of production agriculture could easily propose modifications to those positions that would make them applicable to other stock.

  • Tags

    Why are the pro foie comments so much shorter than the anti foie comments?

    Brevity is the soul of wit.

  • Bob delGrosso

    The campaign to ban foie gras production will not succeed because the political and emotional foundation of the argument against the industry is fundamentally flawed.

    The opposition thinks it will succeed in banning it because it assumes that the public will become indignant with class envy and side with them once they understand that foie gras is a “luxury liver product targeted at the rich.” They also assume that some critical number of glitteratti (e.g. Wolfgang Puck) will side with them and influence others to take on their cause.

    But what they don’t get is that most people will side with the industry because it is tiny and has “underdog” status and don’t pay serious attention to what celebrities have to say about anything -let alone how ducks are raised.

    Finally, the anti-foie gras opposition is not strong enough to resist the push-back from chefs who love the product and have great respect for the people who produce it.

    They really ought to pick another battle.

  • faustianbargain

    to bob delgrosso: wrong. foie gras will never take off in this country because it is marketed in a dishonest manner. the truth is that americans will not support foie gras if they knew what really happens to make that product. america is, for better or worse, not france. right now, there is a lot of untruths wrt how it is sold..propaganda..lobbying and plain lies. case in point: how ‘avma supports foie gras’..how its produced by ‘artisan’ farmers..how it is sustainable. foie gras will always be stained just like battery chicken and pigs in gestation crates will always be stained in the common man’s mind.

    having said that, i myself dont support the ban on foie gras sale in chicago(i do however support the california ban on the production of foie gras) regardless of my own feelings about foie gras production in this country. i trust the govt less than i trust the words of factory duck farm owners.

  • Vincent

    I agree with Bob on some points – some I don’t. It’s a bit unnerving to see a Governor seeking state help for a ban of something like foie while the other food issues in his state as well as the country happen on a daily basis. I don’t think it’s a class issue – I don’t even think it’s a food issue for the people that will vote on it which is the worst part. Foodies vote from what I have experienced, but non foodies vote more often without any knowledge or recourse except main political issues.

    It just seems a bit like a patsy to me – anti foie. It is a singular issue (and as Bob put it luxurious ((and it SO is)), so it is an easy target. Is chicken an easy target, or beef for that matter? Hell to the no.

    I can think of other fundamentally flawed issues that this country has put to vote and denied time and time again.

    I would like to see the same excitement in a post on pork belly or roasted chicken.

  • faustianbargain

    to tags: “brevity is the soul of wit”? it would be hilarious if you read hamlet and discover the circumstances under which polonious uttered those word.

  • faustianbargain

    vincent, i can assure you..ill treated chicken, beef, pork are as much an issue for californians as foie gras ducks are…for example caponisation(drawing a direct parallel to gavage..as caponisation is not a surgical process and is often injurious to the general welfare of the cockerel) of commercial cockerels is illegal in california as general animal cruelty under california penal code, section 597b.

    the only capon producer and processor in the united states is in iowa.

  • Vincent

    Okay…assure me please. Define ill treated, define all of what you speak of and please by all means speak for a whole state of peoples.

    I would like for a person to do that. Please…I would like to sleep tonight. Please forgive my sarcasm, but really? REALLY?!

    I don’t come here for assurance…sorry for the sarcasm but the foie debate has run it’s course.

  • faustianbargain

    i dont understand.

    you said, “It’s a bit unnerving to see a Governor seeking state help for a ban of something like foie while the other food issues in his state as well as the country happen on a daily basis.”

    i assumed that you were speaking of california and its ban on foie gras production come 2012? or am i mistaken?

    how come the foie gras debate has ‘run its course’ only when i correct the misinformation that appears here? when people feel free to drop nuggets of untruths and fallacies, the foie gras discussion is all fine and dandy…i dont get it.

  • Vincent

    Faust…my comments about the state of California (I thought that was implied since that was the state under discussion in the last part of this feed) was a comment in regards to the 1st part of Bob Del Grosso’s post “The campaign to ban foie gras production will not succeed because the political and emotional foundation of the argument against the industry is fundamentally flawed.” Flawed legislation is passed regularly. I am concerned when a state representative or governor takes on issues but limits them to easy targets. It is easy to battle foie production because it is a small issue in this country. I would like to see them take on the poultry or pork industry with the same zest.

    I say the foie issue has run it’s course not because of your corrections to untruths and fallacies. My debate has never been about the production of foie – I disagree wholeheartedly that it is cruel or inhumane, I serve it often and eat it when I can afford it. My debate is with the debate itself – I think it’s cowardly to single out one small section of food production and attack it because of an open wound scenario like foie. I think cali jumped on the bandwagon and it is hypocrisy at it’s best.

    And, it seems, Cali’s bandwagon has the moral compass of Charlie Sheen as one of it’s leaders – that alone is laughable and worth a vote of opposition.

  • Tags

    I don’t know where Polonius fits into this conversation, but there’s all too much of the limbs and outward flourishes of tediousness in evidence here.

    Ben Franklin says guests, like fish, start to stink in 3 days. If he were online, he’d likely say 3 paragraphs.

  • faustianbargain

    vincent, i dont know..why should a ‘small section of food production’ if flawed be ignored just because it is smaller in scale and caters to a few people? i cant grasp that logic.

    foie gras production in california is already illegal under general animal cruelty. (this is why i gave the example of the caponisation of cockerels..capons are enjoyed and appreciated by a very small group of people..a lot of people are happy dining on chicken) california already has laws to prevent cruel and unusual treatment of farm animals. wrt pigs and poultry, they are unfortunately still working under old fashioned legal guidelines. this needs to be changed. and so yes, legislation has to be passed. but this is tough because of the lobbying..avma toes the corporations that run these factory farms because..well.thats why they were founded. its an incestous relationship between the farmers and the supervisory bodies and the govt. it is an unholy orgy of the greedy and the powerful. and just because we cant stop the pigs and chicken from being treated badly doesnt mean that the cockerels and ducks cannot be saved from the same shabby treatment.

  • Messy

    There’s a comment in the Chicago Tribune today that some might find interesting, it’s on their website under “Opinions”.

    The reviewer likens the foie gras ban to censorship and points out that like any artistic community, the chefs of Chicago protested it on that basis. Many didn’t serve fois gras at all, the limitation was the point. They saw it as a slippery slope to a nanny state that would govern everything they served, and I have to agree with that.

    The ban was an addition to an omnibus bill that many council members voted for without knowing that it had been added. The alderman that surreptitiously added the ban mere hours before that vote is being disingenous now by claiming that he was blindsided by the repeal of the ban. He should have expected this.

    For PETA and the alderman from Rogers Park, I have to say that at this point, your protests are mere foolishness. The ban was never a “victory”. It was the same kind of underhanded political deal that you are claiming is unfair now that the ban is repealed.

  • faustianbargain

    it can also be argued that thomas tunney who proposed the repeal is the former head of illinois restaurant association and a restaurant owner himself along with daley..a self confessed foie gras fan did not give a fair chance to the alderman who proposed the ban to speak on the subject. and all just before the second taste of chicago fest.

    tunney and daley dont have clean hands and havent won it ‘fair’ either. i am just saying..its my opinion.

  • faustianbargain

    the ban was repealed only because the restaurant association did not like it. business interests trump over legislation. what’s new, america?

    tunney first filed a lawsuit in 2007 to overturn the ban. he lost. in june 27, an appeal to the us court of appeals for the seventh circuit was filed by tunney. oral arguments was scheduled for may 27. before that happened, using monetary losses to the city of chicago and it’s restaurants(just before taste of chicago even), the ban was repealed. something smells fishy in chicago. i’d love to have been a fly on the wall during the ‘discussions’ that allowed the repeal.

    if chicago is forever tainted, its not because of the ban on foie gras or even its underhanded repeal…chicago is the laughing stock of the world when they started putting out outrageous foie gras dishes after the ban to make a point…foie gras pizza..with sausage and all other sorts of abomination. now..thats a reason to ban foie gras in chicago..all that torture the duck went through resulted in such culinary abominations.

  • Tags

    Now we’re talking about “abominations.”

    When “meat is murder”, using a flyswatter is an abomination. Michael, it looks like time to close this post down, too.

    Nothing to see here, folks, keep moving.

  • Tara H. Rao

    Chicago takes a step back into dark ages !!!!!!!

    The progressive Chicago foie gras ban, sponsored by Alderman Joe Moore and originally passed in 2006 by a vote of 48-1, has been repealed today due to shameless manipulation by restaurant industry lobbyists to bring the diseased, rotting organs of abused ducks and geese back to Chicago’s restaurants.

    In the course of our work to keep this ban intact, we’ve talked to thousands of people on the streets of Chicago, the overwhelming majority of whom were horrified when they learned about the cruelty behind foie gras. Many of these people joined us in vocal support for Chicago’s progressive ban of the barbaric product. Unfortunately, in large part thanks to a handful of powerful people, battling wealthy industries can be a long, hard battle, regardless of where the public stands on the issue.

    This decision is a big step backwards for the city, and it goes against the tide of civilized communities who are making the compassionate decision to ban foie gras.

    It’s pretty clear from the desperate angling we’ve seen from the foie gras industry as they’ve fought against this ban that they know their days are numbered, but it’s a hell of a shame to see that, even in their death throes, they can still find a way to poison a beautiful thing. We will keep fighting to pass more foie gras bans and to educate the public about this delicacy of despair. You can count on that.

  • Claudia

    Most aptly put, Carri. And Polonius made the remark in the context of telling Hamlet’s parents that their son was off his rocker (or so he thought). To further quote Polonius: “This business is well ended.”

  • Maya

    Since we have food lovers on this blog, I think it’s important to note that animal rights activists are food lovers too. Do y’all think we’re perfect? I don’t always buy humanely raised eggs, not at those prices!

    Almost every vegetarian I know has “cheated” at one point or another. And not even with humanely raised products!!

    Do you REALIZE how much better the animal’s lives would be if we all contributed? If 1% of people give up all animal products and 99 percent don’t, it’s worthless. But if 99 percent of people give just 2% of effort, we could tremendously reduce suffering. Like going veggie just once a week.

    For example, on Top Chef when they skinned a monkfish, just to toss it in the trash afterwards. Disgusting! Someone PLEASE correct me if I’m wrong about that, I would love to know that that animal didn’t die just to make the trash heavier!

    Okay, on a lighter note, I bet we’ll all have a good chuckle when we see tofu not-fois-gras on menus, right? 😉

  • milo

    Luis, I’ve seen that video. It looks humane to you, but it looks inhumane to me. Since neither of us is a duck, I guess each of us will just have to have differing opinions.

    Cameron, I agree that government intervention probably isn’t the best solution for things like this.

    As for going after foie or factory beef or chicken, it’s really just a matter of strategy. I think we can both agree that people trying to get factory farming of beef or chicken would have an extremely difficult time. As we’ve seen, they HAVE been successful in some places at getting foie gras banned.

    There’s no question that a successful attempt to change factory beef would have a far bigger impact than changing cruel foie gras farming. But if a a successful attempt to change factory beef is practically impossible right now, I can’t blame them for going after something where they have a chance at succeeding. Especially if doing it spurs public debate…which can include factory farming.

    And it’s not like these people are opposing foie INSTEAD of factory farming, many have opposed both…they have just had more success with foie so far.

    Either way, it’s really just a debate over strategy.

    And Cameron, I think you’re not clear on the concept of a straw man argument.

  • faustianbargain

    hi claudia…polonious is convinced that hamlet had become mad after ophelia’s rejection…and after his ‘brevity is the soul of wit’ spiel, he tries to prove to claudius and gertrude that hamlet is madly(!) in love with ophelia. whether hamlet was truly mad is debatable, but polonious dies..ophelia dies…after going ape shit crazy mad. meanwhile, in that moment when polonious spies on hamlet waiting for him to profess his love for ophelia, hamlet just goes ahead and ‘lovingly’ asks a bewildered ophelia to join a brothel. oops. so much for the ‘soul of wit’.

    and oh dear..oh dear…’the business’in hamlet didnt end well. ..at all.

    i am afraid this foie gras business isnt going to end well either because the professed ‘love’ is based on misconceptions and propaganda. and fuelled with lots of PR and lobbying.

    without the soundbytes and sales pitch, whats one’s instinct when one sees a duck being rammed with a tube down its throat and being forcefed with corn mush and fat..?

  • Tags

    Hey, great synopsis.

    What do you think are the chances of Angie and Jesse from All My Children keepin it real in their second time around?

  • faustianbargain

    that wasnt a synopsis..i was drawing a parallel to this ridiculous love some of you americans are professing towards foie gras..odd considering it wasnt there before chicago restaurants were denied the right to sell them.

  • veron

    I just came back from Chicago. The foie gras ban getting lifted could not have come at a better time. I attended a class by Pierre Herme and he made a foie gras macaron! As weird as it sounded it was the most sensuous ,luxurious taste I have ever had in a macaron. It had a foie gras center and surrounded by chocolate!