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Originally published Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Chicago council repeals 2006 ban on foie gras

With Mayor Richard Daley running the vote, the Chicago City Council on Wednesday repealed its controversial ban on foie gras. The City Council's reversal...

Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO — With Mayor Richard Daley running the vote, the Chicago City Council on Wednesday repealed its controversial ban on foie gras.

The City Council's reversal comes slightly more than two years after Chicago became a worldwide punchline for its ban on serving the delicacy made from the enlarged livers of geese and ducks.

Daley, who had dismissed the ban as "the silliest law the City Council has ever passed," sat in the council chair, squelching debate as aldermen voted 37-6 to legalize foie gras.

Over the shouted objections of Alderman Joe Moore, the ban's sponsor, the council used a parliamentary maneuver to put the ordinance on the floor for a vote.

Alderman Thomas Tunney, a restaurant owner, forced the vote on the measure that prohibits restaurants in the city from serving the delicacy.

Moore, whose pleas for a debate were ignored by Daley, warned fellow aldermen, "tomorrow it could happen to you."

The council's about-face happened about as quickly as the ban's passage in April 2006, when Moore sneaked the ban into a routine part of the agenda that aldermen approved 48-1.

Not that eating the outsized duck livers really went away. It remained legal to sell them at butcher shops, chefs renamed some dishes and upscale diners would bring them into restaurants to be sprinkled onto their salads.

For some chefs, any stigma associated with violating city ordinance is now removed. For animal-rights activists, Chicago has returned to endorsing what they argue is an unethical dish, given that foie gras 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 the normal size.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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