Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Chicago alderman hopes to force vote to repeal foie-gras ban

Joe Moore tends to get ragged up there in the 49th Ward. Craig Gernhardt and Tom Mannis goes after him pretty good up there. Of course most of us in the city may not know much about the dynamics up there in his ward. What we do know about him is the big box ordinance in 2007 and the foie-gras ban. Well if the city council has its way he won't even have that:
Aldermen opposed to Chicago's controversial restaurant ban on foie gras said they will try to force a vote Wednesday to repeal the measure, which gained the City Council widespread notoriety since its approval two years ago.

Noting opposition to the ban from the restaurant industry, Ald. Thomas Tunney (44th) said Tuesday he would take action to force a council vote to overturn the measure. The legislation prohibits restaurants from serving the delicacy made from the enlarged livers of geese and ducks.

"We think we have the votes to do it," Tunney said of the repeal effort.

Tunney, a strong ally of Mayor Richard Daley, has dismissed the ban as "the silliest law the City Council has ever passed," and warned that it could stifle economic development in the city.

The Illinois Restaurant Association, led by former Daley chief of staff Sheila O'Grady, challenged the ban in court. But last year a federal judge dismissed the restaurant group's lawsuit, ruling that the city had a constitutional right to enact the measure.

Ald. Joe Moore (49th) sponsored the ban at the urging of animal-rights groups. On Tuesday, he decried Tunney's parliamentary maneuver to force another vote.

"There's really no reason to bring this up again," Moore said. "Restaurants continue to survive and thrive. I can't think of one restaurant that has closed because of this."

Foie gras, once a staple in some of Chicago's most upscale restaurants, is produced by inserting tubes down the necks of geese and ducks. The birds are then force fed to expand their livers to as much as 10 times normal size.

The ban was passed in April 2006 by a 48-1 vote. But Tunney noted Tuesday that there was no discussion of the measure on the council floor before the vote. The ban was passed in an "omnibus" vote at the end of a meeting, packaged together with other ordinances considered to be routine.
Surely if you want to think about the animals there are much more effective ways of eliminating foie-gras as a delicacy than passing a law or ordinance where there are certianly more pressing issues to consider. I know to say that is easy, but too bad that we're discussing it now even if it is a silly law!

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