IDA Writing Alert: Activists slam restaurant serving foie gras

January 29th, 2007 7:03 pm by Kelly Garbato

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From: In Defense of Animals – takeaction [at] idausa.org
Date: Jan 29, 2007 11:44 AM
Subject: Writing Alert: Activists slam restaurant serving foie gras

The Chicago Tribune ran a story about a protest held this weekend in Chicago over city officials’ failure to enforce a ban on foie gras, a delicacy made from cruelly force-feeding ducks and geese. Please write a letter to the editor on the inherent cruelty of foie gras. Send letters to: ctc-TribLetter [at] Tribune.com.

Click here to read the article online.

Activists slam restaurant serving foie gras

By Jeff Long
Tribune staff reporter

Published January 28, 2007, 5:16 PM CST

Wayne Hsiung stood in the cold Sunday outside Bin 36, handing out pamphlets to the few passersby about the way geese and ducks are force-fed to make foie gras.

Holding banners that showed the process in graphic detail, Hsiung was among about a dozen animal-rights activists protesting the restaurant’s continued serving of the fattened goose- or duck-liver delicacy, which the Chicago City Council banned last year.

“I think that torturing a defenseless animal is wrong,” said Hsiung of Chicago.

After a second complaint about foie gras being served at Bin 36, 339 N. Dearborn St., the city’s Department of Public Health recently inspected the restaurant, said department spokesman Tim Hadac. But foie gras is not for sale on the menu, so the restaurant was not cited, Hadac said.

In all, eight restaurants and a deli have been sent warning letters, but none has been fined, Hadac said.

Foie gras is not sold at Bin 36 but is available, said chef de cuisine Craig DiFonzo, as he peeked outside at the protesters. They were surrounded by television cameras, including a crew from France, where curiosity about the Chicago ban is apparently high.

“It’s an item given away, complimentary,” DiFonzo said. “We don’t believe in the ban.”

The protest did not appear to turn customers away from Bin 36, where the cold probably did more to keep traffic down. The protesters said they were there more to raise awareness than keep people from the restaurant.

Hsiung said passersby seemed receptive.

“They’re looking at the signs, they’re taking leaflets,” he said.

Hsiung said people do not tolerate cruelty to dogs and cats, and there are laws against that. But he wonders why people don’t recognize similar cruelty to geese and ducks.

“It’s moral schizophrenia,” he said.

Another protester, Bryan Pease of San Diego, said some in Chicago might not take the ban seriously. Mayor Richard Daley has called it “the silliest law” the City Council has ever passed.

“I think the reason it’s seen as silly in Chicago is because people think of it in abstract terms, that the city has banned some sort of duck liver,” said Pease, a member of the Animal Protection and Rescue League. “But they don’t realize this is from a duck that has been tortured.”

Other protesters came from groups such as In Defense of Animals, Mercy for Animals and Showing Animals Respect and Kindness.

“With foie gras, it’s so extreme, it’s so cruel that most people–when they learn how it’s produced–believe it should be banned,” Pease said.

“If the city doesn’t want to enforce the law, we feel it’s our job to get out here and educate the public and engage the public so that the city officials will enforce the law,” he added.

A vegetarian for the last 12 years, Pease said he has never tasted foie gras.

“I would be so grossed out,” he said.

jjlong [at] tribune.com

You can use the following points to assist you in writing your letter or visit http://www.stopforcefeeding.com for more information:

* Every year nearly 500,000 ducks are confined into warehouses, force-fed with a metal pipe shoved down their beaks, and slaughtered for their diseased livers.

* Recent investigations of the United States’ only three foie gras farms found gross neglect and cruelty. Witnesses found tens of thousands of ducks confined in filthy, overcrowded confinements and others left to suffer in enclosures so small they could even spread a wing.

* Ducks are force-fed with a long metal pole repeatedly shoved down their throats. They are forced to consume a pound of food three times a day-one-tenth of their healthy body weight. The torture begins when they are just three months old and continues until they are sent to slaughter.

* During the investigation of three U.S. foie gras farms, investigators found birds on the verge of death, covered in their own vomit. Other birds were found dead in their cages. They had suffocated and choked to death from being force-fed.

* Many of the ducks who survive become too sick to walk. Those who survive the feedings suffer from a painful illness that causes their livers to swell to eight to 10 times their normal size.

Letters should be less than 150 words. Please do not send attachments and please remember to include your full name, address, and phone number (for verification purposes–street names and phone numbers will not be published) and not to use any wording in this alert. Thanks and good luck!

Sincerely,
Kristie Phelps
Communications Director

If you received this message from a friend, you can sign up for In Defense of Animals Action Center.

In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization with more than 85,000 members and supporters dedicated to ending the abuse and exploitation of animals by protecting their rights and welfare. IDA’s efforts include educational events, cruelty investigations, boycotts, grassroots activism, and hands-on rescue through our sanctuaries in Mississippi and Cameroon, Africa.

In Defense of Animals 3010 Kerner Blvd., San Rafael, California 94901 – P: (415) 388-9641 F: (415) 388-0388

email: ida [at] idausa.org

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