DawnWatch: Foie gras ban in many papers and poll in Chicago Tribune — 8/23/06

August 23rd, 2006 9:13 pm by Kelly Garbato

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From: DawnWatch – news [at] dawnwatch.com
Date: Aug 23, 2006 5:14 PM
Subject: DawnWatch: Foie gras ban in many papers and poll in Chicago Tribune 8/23/06

Chicago’s ban on foie gras went into effect yesterday, and is featured in many papers today including the New York Times and Washington Post, the internationally distributed Christian Science Monitor, and it is on the front page of the Chicago Tribune. Google News alerts showed the story at 58 news outlets at least. You might check the following link to see if your news outlet is one of them, and send a letter to the editor if so: http://tinyurl.com/jg349

The Wednesday, August 23, Chicago Tribune front page story is headed, “Chicago’s wild foie gras chase; Mayor Daley calls the ban the ‘silliest’ law. Restaurants across town serve up the delicacy in defiance. Now the question is whether city officials will actually try to enforce the new law.”

It opens:

“Foie gras appeared on pizza on Archer Avenue Tuesday, complemented cornbread and catfish at a South Side soul food place, and was stacked on sausages like pats of butter at a gourmet hot dog joint on the North Side.

“Chicago’s immediate reaction to a city ordinance banning foie gras–the French dish made from the livers of force-fed ducks and geese–was to embrace the gray goo like never before, in flights of culinary imagination.

“Rhetoric and pate abounded on the first day of the City Council’s ban, as restaurateurs and gourmands openly flouted the prohibition–cultured, giddy, goose-liver-fueled acts of defiance.”

“On Tuesday morning the Illinois Restaurant Association filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court seeking to overturn the ban, accusing the City Council of overstepping its authority.

The article includes a little information about foie gras:

“The ban began with the outrage of animal rights activists, who cited the cruelty of force-feeding ducks and geese with tubes until their livers swelled to 10 times normal size.”

We read:

“The city Public Health Department unenthusiastically accepted the responsibility of overseeing it–and promptly put it off until the heat blew over.”

A department spokesman is quoted: “We’re not exactly chomping at the bit to devote resources to this.”

You can read the full article on line at http://tinyurl.com/g7pu5.

That page has a poll asking whether or not foie gras should be banned. Please vote!

And you can send a letter to the editor at http://tinyurl.com/4lsug.

A great source of information is http://www.nofoiegras.org.

The August 23 New York Times story is headed, “Defying Law, a Foie Gras Feast in Chicago.” (Pg A14)

It opens:

“On Tuesday, this city’s lawbreakers were serving foie gras.

“The illicit substance could be spotted in places it was rarely seen when it was legal: buried in Chicago’s famed deep-dish pizza, in soul food on the South Side, beside beef downtown.

“In one of the more unlikely (and opulent) demonstrations of civil disobedience, a handful of restaurants here that never carry foie gras, the fattened livers of ducks and geese, featured it on the very day that Chicago became the first city in the nation to outlaw sale of the delicacy.”

It tell us that a spokesman for the Chicago Department of Public Health said that although the ordinance went into effect on Tuesday, the city would begin enforcement on Wednesday.

You can read the full article on line at:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/23/us/23chicago.html?_r=1&ref=us&oref=slogin.

And you send a letter to letters [at] nytimes.com

The August 23 Washington Post article is headed, “Restaurateurs See Faux Pas in Ban on Foie Gras.” (Pg A2)

It opens:

“Don’t come between foodies and their foie gras.

“That was the message sent by Chicago diners who dug into foie gras dishes Monday, on the eve of the city’s ban on foie gras taking effect. High-end restaurants had special foie gras tastings to protest the ban, and even a few down-home sandwich and pizza joints added it to their menus for the occasion.

Alderman Joe Moore is quoted: “This isn’t telling people what to eat; this is basically a statement against cruelty to animals. This is a product of animal torture, pure and simple. It doesn’t need to be on menus in Chicago.”

This article also tells us that the Illinois Restaurant Association and has filed a lawsuit challenging the ban and that the Department of Public Health spokesman says:

“We’re not exactly chomping at the bit to enforce this. It’s an animal rights issue; it doesn’t appear to relate to human health in any way.”

And it says that hoping to circumvent the ban, “restaurateurs have speculated that they can get around it by giving away foie gras or serving it at private parties.”

You can read the full article on line at http://www.washingtonpost.com/ and send a letter to the Washington Post at letters [at] washpost.com

The August 23 Christian Science Monitor article is headed, “Last taste of banned food – foie gras ice cream.”

It opens:

“Here in Chicago – once called hog butcher for the world – foie gras has disappeared not with a whimper but with an all-out foie extravaganza.

“In the months before the country’s first ban took effect, the overfattened duck liver – beloved by gourmets and hated by animal-rights activists – has been featured on burgers and in desserts, at hot dog joints and at luxury restaurants, seared, foamed, and in ice cream.”

About foie gras we read:

“The controversy comes from the way it’s produced: Ducks or geese are force-fed grain through metal tubes until their livers are many times normal size. But foie gras proponents say graphic descriptions are misleading since the birds don’t have a gag reflex, and that the treatment is far more humane than, say, that of a typical pig or chicken in a factory farm.”

(That is true — and shows us how campaigns against any cruelty can raise awareness of it elsewhere.)

It tells us:

“Ironically, the ban has raised the profile of a dish many couldn’t pronounce before now, and prompted some Chicagoans to try it for the first time.”

And on plans to circumvent the ban we read that one restaurant “plans to sell potatoes and herbs in a garden salad for $16, with complimentary foie gras.”

But the Christian Science Monitor article has a nice quote from Farm Sanctuary’s Gene Bauston:

“This is huge. I think this issue will raise people’s awareness and make them think a little bit more about what they’re eating.”

And it ends with a nice quote from somebody who has just tried foie gras:
“And despite the furor, at least a few people just don’t care. ‘It was the worst plate on the menu,’ says Alyssa Coiley, trying it for the first time at 676. ‘Now I kind of feel sorry for the ducks – it wasn’t worth it.'”

You can read that article on line at http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0823/p02s02-ussc.html and send a letter at http://csmonitor.com/cgi-bin/encryptmail.pl?ID=CFF0C5E4.

If you can send letters to the widely distributed papers above, that is great — we need to make sure that the compassionate viewpoint is part of the public dialogue. But please remember to keep an eye out for the story in your local media, where others will not have written, and where you will have the very best chance of being published.

Always include your full name, address, and daytime phone number when sending a letter to the editor. Shorter letters are more likely to be published.

Yours and the animals’,
Karen Dawn

(DawnWatch is an animal advocacy media watch that looks at animal issues in the media and facilitates one-click responses to the relevant media outlets. You can learn more about it, and sign up for alerts at http://www.DawnWatch.com. To unsubscribe, go to http://www.dawnwatch.com/cgi-bin/dada/dawnwatch_unsubscribe.cgi
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