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Chicago Takes a Step Back Into the Dark Ages

Written by PETA | May 14, 2008

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Chicago foie gras ban, sponsored by Alderman Joe Moore and originally passed in 2006 by a vote of 48-1, has been repealed today due to shameless manipulation by restaurant industry lobbyists to bring the diseased, rotting organs of abused ducks and geese back to Chicago’s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. PETA will keep fighting to pass more foie gras bans and to educate the public about this delicacy of despair. You can count on that.

Commenting is closed.
  • theydonotsuffer says:

    I am tired of people complaining about foie gras. You claim to help animals but you do not seem to know that much about ducks and geese. First of all overfeeding is a natural process for migratory birds. They always eat and have always eaten that much before each migration. It means that those animals do not suffer of overfeeding. Also those animals do not suffer that humans force them to eat and they are not stressed at all. It is well known that a duck or goose lever does not get fatter nor bigger if the animal is stressed. I mean you cannot make foie gras from a stressed animal. And you cannot get good meat as well from a stressed animal. So stop complaining about things when you do not know how it works.

  • chasgoose says:

    You do realize that if foie gras livers where “rotting” or “diseased” they wouldn’t taste good and no one would pay upwards of $20 for a tiny portion of them. Foie gras farms are some of the most efficient and sustainable animal farmers currently operating in the country today. When a foie gras duck is killed almost every part of it is usable for food or other purposes. You can’t say that about 90 of the animals raised today. Furthermore complaints against foie gras rely on anthropomorphizing the ducks and completely ignoring duck physiognomy. Force feeding isn’t pleasant by any means but for ducks who breathe through a hole in their tongue it doesn’t restrict their breathing and since their throats are thickly lined if done properly which the farms in the US both are it shouldn’t cause the duck any pain aside from being constrained for a few seconds when I give my cat medicine through a syringe into his mouth its about as much discomfort and pain as a foie gras duck experiences. Why don’t you put your efforts towards targeting the truly barbaric factory farms and other unsustainable farms throughout the country instead of attacking some of the most environmentally friendly sustainable and efficient artisan farms in the country? I would totally support any attacks on TysonMcDonaldscattle farms but to attack foie gras is manipulative and silly.

  • Jessica says:

    hey Jennyt i’m pretty sure you responded to the wrong person. be a little more careful next time you made yourself look like a bigot… or maybe you are? i’m not sure. but Mariya KutrevaWilliamson said that she was a supporter of animal rights she said nothing to make it sound like she “doesn’t care about animals” i believe the person your anger should be directed towards was GrizzlyBear who obviously came to the PETA site just to try and start crap with people because they are an idiot with nothing better to do… so yeah the poster’s name and date of post are at THE BOTTOM of the comment not the top

  • maritza says:

    you dumb asses are forgetting one thing! banning alcohol and banning torture are 2 seperate things. no living creature has to be confined force fed and killed for me to get drunk!!!! so get your red noses out of the bottle in front of you throw up a bit to sober up and think with the few brain cells left in your narrow minded alcohol soaked head.

  • GrizzlyBear says:

    Vicky said “I live in Chicago and I’m appalled at the ban being uplifted. Mayor Richard Daley called the ban two years ago the “silliest ordinance the council ever passed.” How dare him say such a thing?” You’re joking right Vicky? “How dare him say such a thing?”? The last time I checked mayors and other elected officials also have the right of free speech to speak their minds on issues just as much as you or I do they not?

  • Carla says:

    sarah right on!!!

  • sarah says:

    i have to say i’m not surprised by this. you can’t turn on the news here in chicago without hearing about some horrible or corrupt thing that our politicians are doing or getting in trouble for. it’s insane. how are these people elected? also “The foie gras ban is most analogous to alcohol Prohibition in that is represents completely unnecessary petty government meddling in people’s personal choices” i don’t see how banning the TORTURE of animals when people could just as easily eat meat from animals killed more humanely is in any way like the government taking away your precious booze. it’s not about controlling what you eat it’s about protocting a LIVING CREATURE. i don’t eat duck. i don’t want you to to but i’m not going to tell you that you can’t. but don’t torture the living breathing creature until it dies and expect me and everyone else to ignore it. the ban might have been small but it was one step in the right direction. and the cops might have better things to do but i see a lot of cops NOT doing those better things so maybe it really wasn’t too hard on them? maybe.

  • Mike Quinoa says:

    GrizzlyBear Just as laws are formulated to ensure the safety and welfare of humans so too should we enact laws to protect nonhumans against unnecessary egregious cruelty. Forcefeeding an animal to produce what is in fact a biologically diseased liver is a practice that should not be tolerated. The European Union’s Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare states “force feeding as currently practised is detrimental to the welfare of the birds.” The very fact that other parts of the world have seen fit to ban foie gras is evidence that many perceive foie gras production as inhumane. Foie gras has been outlawed in many countries including the U.K. Germany Switzerland Israel Austria South Africa and Italy along with parts of the U.S. Cruelty to other living things human or nonhuman should always trump personal choice. Chicago city council representing Chicagoans resoundingly 481 and legally made the right decision the first time around. Why then did they rescind the ban becomes the big question. It is unnecessary to address your belief that this is a case of “neoprohibitionism” because I don’t believe it is.

  • Joanna says:

    I am extremely saddened and also very angry about this decision. “Gourmet food” does not have to be cruel. I just read an article about the alternatives that chefs in Chicago had come up with that tasted just as “good” or better and was made from free range animals that were not force fed. I don’t agree with either one but we should consider the lesser of two evils here. Animal cruelty does not make the food taste freaking better!!! What a sad day for Chicago and it’s caring citizens.

  • Allison says:

    What I liked was the news report…A resaurant owner who was so excited about the lift on fois de gras that he brought his pet duck out for a walk in front of the cameras….how twisted is that. I can’t figure out why he wanted to put the sweet duck on TV to celebrate the death of all of his feathered friends. I bet the duck wasn’t celebrating.

  • GrizzlyBear says:

    Sorry Mike but your analogies just don’t wash. None of the three items you mentioned represents petty unnecessary micromanagement of people’s lives. You have to obey stop signs because that is a matter of public safety. If we did not have stop signs or stop lights or everyone chose not to obey them we would have utter chaos in our traffic system. Accidents would greatly increase as would the number of deaths and injuries associated with them. That’s not micromanagement. As far as taxation goes that is not micromanagement either. Pretty much all of us agree that if our government is going to function some form of taxation is necessary. Without taxation we couldn’t have things like roads public education law enforcement or national defense. That doesn’t qualify as micromanagement. Spitting on the sidewalk laws are like stop signs a matter of public safety. Saliva is breeding ground for contagious diseases. Prohibiting public spitting is intended to decrease people’s exposure to those pathogens. That’s not micromanagement. The foie gras ban is most analogous to alcohol Prohibition in that is represents completely unnecessary petty government meddling in people’s personal choices and in that it is utterly ineffective and doomed to fail. Instead of offering up silly straw man fallacies and ridiculous analogies why don’t you try addressing my original point of whether or not neoProhibitionism is a matter of sound public policy. Ryne We don’t live in a democracy. We live in a constitutional republic. There is a huge difference.

  • Holly says:

    I am so very sorry for the animals who will suffer more abuse and pain at the hand of humans as a result of this. Go Vegetarianvegan save the our earth stop the suffering and pain of our animal friends.

  • Tricia says:

    Hey Grizzly Bear What about cruelty to animals? Does that count at all?

  • lynda downie says:

    How very sad Chicago. Thank you Peta for not backing off after this disappointing setback.

  • judy siek says:

    I will not spend a dime in any restaurant that serves this dish. I may move out of the city. This is a step back. Chicago claims to be green. What a joke!!!!!

  • judy siek says:

    List the restaurants that serve this and I will make sure I do not spend a dime in them and will also pass on the names of the restaurants to my friends and make sure they do not dine there.

  • Jennyt says:

    I’m still wondering why people that seem to not care about animal rights keep showing up on THE PETA WEBSITE!!! Mariya KutrevaWilliamson You keep your nose out of our business and go to the OTHER peta website were you belong

  • 3000 says:

    As well intended as the law was meant to be it was basically unenforcable. Foie gras was still being served on salads and other items. It was also legal to sell it in stores and have it in your refrigerator at home. I also think the Chicago city council and the Chicago Police dept. have much more pressing matters than to become the food police for a City of millions of people. Let them worry about issues that really matter to most residents crime education texesdog fightingdrugs and the like. I’m glad it’s been repealed as it’s been a distracting joke here for almost two years.

  • SHARIE DELLA says:


  • Mike Quinoa says:

    GrizzlyBear If you live in a democratic society your life is already “micromanaged.” You have to pay your taxes stop where the sign is and don’t spit on the sidewalk. This ban went through proper democratic and legal channels to be passed demonstrating hopefully the will of the majority 481 seems like a pretty good majority. We should be more concerned about the backroom political machinations involved in its repeal. Foie gras has already been outlawed in many countries including the U.K. Germany Israel South Africa and Italy along with parts of the U.S. These countries obviously understand that progress can encompass compassion.

  • Stacey S. says:

    It’s a sad day in the city today when evil trumps good. I say we continue to take a stand against cruelty and protest and boycott every resturant that serves foie gras. Anyone interested in protesting city hall and it’s ignorantevil politicians please let me know. I’m up for a fight to help these innocent animals!

  • John Hasemeyer says:

    Mayor Daley and the Illinois Restaurant Association IRA are behind this. His former chief of staff Sheila OGrady is president of the IRA. Alderman Tom Tunney 44th ward is also a former president of the IRA. The mayor got his way by refusing to recognize Ald. Moore in debate and then in a great moment for democracy ruled that the repeal was “not debateable.”

  • Kristen says:

    This really saddens me. I was so happy when I first heard that Chicago passed the law. The fact that some people let money talk pisses me off to no end. Karma is a force to be reckoned with that’s for sure. They’ll get theirs.

  • Carla says:

    Hey Mobs rule there and they are heartless somehow I had a feeling this wouldn’t last! Keep up the pressure!! Pictures can say a thousand words…

  • kenady says:

    wow thats screwy. why do ppl have to so mean to animals like im not obsessed with them or anything but people should care. which they dont but they will sooner or later relize what there doing

  • Ryne says:

    This truly makes you wonder if we live in a democracy. Politicians choose business over the people whenever they’re given the choice. Lets not give up though. Lets use this against every single one of those politicians that are running for reelection in Chicago. If you live in Chicago check out the group Mecry for Animals. They do a lot of great work. Hopefully they’ll use this as way to campaign against these cowards. When elections come these selfish bastards will surely regret this decison!

  • joel says:

    Fck you chicago!

  • GrizzlyBear says:

    The “progressive” foie gras ban? You must be joking. There is nothing “progressive” about nosy big government bureaucrats like Alderman Moore using a form of neoProhibitionism to micromanage other people’s lives. It’s backward regressive and a form of petty tyranny. Prohibitionist policies seldom work. Look no further than alcohol prohibition in the 1930’s and the ongoing “war on drugs” to see the failure of such ideas. The foie gras ban may have made animal rights advocates feel good but it accomplished little else. There is one simple solution to the foie gras issue if you don’t like it don’t eat it. Keep your busybody noses away from other people’s dinner plates. Good riddance to a stupid law.

  • Mariya Kutreva-Williamson says:

    What a dissapointing surprise. But hey guys at PETA nevermind it will happen. One day people will wake up. I believe. I live in Bulgaria Eastern Europe exsocialist country and I am disheartened daily by the total inability to do anything for animals on a large scale here. We have no organizations no nothing. Still I join PETA to help animals elsewhere. It all adds up and one day it will happen. Thank you for caring.

  • scarley says:

    First of all i think this is wrong. Specially knowing that its going to be used for oil! I mean there are many other things to eat. There is no reason why animals should get hurt in such way. For whatever reason it is that they are doing this its not worth killing a living creature

  • Tamara says:

    Damn it! I knew what you were talking about when I saw the title of the blog…

  • Yoav Kashiv says:

    The original vote last year to ban foie gras in Chicago passed 481. The vote today to repeal the ban passed by 346 so I’m told. This means that 33 aldermen proved to be spineless cowards… The fact that Daley the mayor is corrupt is well known. However it’s still amazing disappointing and repelling to see how he pressured the city council to reverse the ban and how the pathetic aldermen yielded…

  • Tiago says:

    According to youtube “This video has been removed due to terms of use violation.”. Jack do you know why that happened?

  • JRenee says:

    I just watched the news here in Chicago and am appalled that they have lifted the ban on foie gras. It is not a joke! If other cities were laughing then so what! It’s just like our moms used to tell us to ignore people who make fun or poke fun at you! If any one of the Aldermen has a pet they should have compassion for those poor helpless Ducks and Geese! I assure you they would never allow their pet to be forced fed down the throat with a metal tube or with anything else for that matter! Anyone who wants to eat a “fatty liver” that is made grotesquely enlarged from a Duck or Goose is a Monster! I say go to the place where your “fatty liver” is produced and watch how it is done one visit should deter you for the rest of your life. Have a heart people! Ducks and Geese should not have to endure this torture just to give you the fancy of saying “I’ll have the Foie Grais please!” Ugh! You have to care about animals! Just look into their precious eyes!

  • Monika says:

    How absolutely insulting.. I cannot believe that for the sake of whiney restaurant owners that they took off the ban… Thank goodness for PETA I hope this can be reversed sooner than later!

  • Mike Quinoa says:

    Never trust a politician except of course Joe Moore. Money talks and some are obviously on the take. What a bunch of reneging spineless wimps. Remind me NEVER to go to Chicago.

  • Vicky says:

    I live in Chicago and I’m appalled at the ban being uplifted. Mayor Richard Daley called the ban two years ago the “silliest ordinance the council ever passed.” How dare him say such a thing. Seriously we live in a world of intelligent people but their actions show otherwise.

  • kelly says:

    The names of the corrupt legislators that got jerked by rich business should be published for all to see.