VEGA News Item

What Makes Life Worth Living? It Depends on the Liver. But Not in Chicago - 20/05/2008
Chicago repeals a 2 year restaurant ban on foie gras.

Britain’s mayors in major cities like to impress their subjects with experts from the USA they have imported to advise us on various aspects of social and commercial services. There is nowhere more relevant at the moment than London (England), where we most warn the burghers to shun any advice that Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago may proffer. Frank Sinatra’s home town may have various delights but kindly attitudes in animal welfare are not among them, if the metropolis’s fleshpots (or fatpots) are anything to go by.

Chicago’s city council has just reversed a ban passed with a single dissenting voice in April 2006 on restaurants serving pate foie gras. The aldermen have now lifted the ban 37 to 6. The city has issued a few warnings to restaurants flouting the ban and one defiant eatery was fined. Mayor Daley had called the ban “the silliest ordinance” the city council had ever passed and said it made Chicago “the laughing stock of the nation”. Such ridicule hasn’t daunted California, where a law was passed that will end production and sale of foie gras in the state by 2012. Similar laws have been proposed in a few other states.

Some restaurants owners, whose Association had lobbied for repeal of the ban, worried that other items such as lobster, veal, and even eggs could be barred from their menus. Alderman Dick Mell thought the ban “was us sticking our nose in something we shouldn’t even have been in”. He added that veal calves and chickens also suffer in confinement: there’s some cruelty out there, folks”, he says.

Here’s where our burghers can pause for a moment complaining about the food and restaurants at the Olympic Games in China to assert leadership in our politicians and corporate entertainers by the vigorous example of boycotting. Already Prince Charles is showing signs of desistance over foie gras and many in the hunting fraternity refuse it. The Mayors in London should be able to see off menus in corporate catering in the capital that prove that Londoners stand firm against the grossness of Chicago’s fatted burghers.


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