Chicago lifts ban on foie gras

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The two-year-ban on the sale of French delicacy foie gras has been lifted on Wednesday.

15 May 2008

CHICAGO - The city of Chicago on Wednesday lifted a two-year ban on the sale of the French delicacy foie gras.

Fans of the fatty duck liver dish were delighted.

"It's fabulous," said chef Didier Durand, who has been running a "duckeasy" where foie gras was served for free in his restaurant Cyrano's Bistro since the ban was imposed.

"Break out the champagne!"

Mayor Richard Daley has repeatedly called the ban "silly" and said it made Chicago "the laughingstock of the nation" but was, until now, unable to convince council members to repeal the ban.

Local restaurants also failed to have the ban overturned in the courts, and several were fined for serving the dish that has been granted cultural heritage status by the French parliament.

The repeal passed Wednesday over the shouted objections of the ordinance's original sponsor by a vote of 37 to six after a council member forced it out of committee.

"To reverse a compassionate and admirable decision under pressure from political bullies and special interests shows a cowardly brand of cynicism unlike any we have seen in our efforts to give voice to the most vulnerable beings in our society - animals raised for food," said Julie Janovsky, director of campaigns for animal rights group Farm Sanctuary.

Chicago's ban followed a bill introduced in California in 2004 that bans the sale and production of foie gras by 2012.

Chicago - which garnered the nickname Hogtown because of its sprawling slaughter houses - imposed the ban in 2006.

Force-feeding birds has been banned in 15 countries, including Germany, Italy, Israel and Britain, according to Farm Sanctuary which runs the website.

[AFP / Expatica]

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