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Page last updated at 16:37 GMT, Thursday, 15 May 2008 17:37 UK

Chicago overturns foie gras ban

Chef Didier Durand outside his restaurant in Chicago, 14 May 2008
Didier Durand had campaigned against the foie gras ban

The city council of Chicago has overturned a ban on foie gras, less than two years after it was imposed.

The ban was repealed in a vote by 36-6, and the decision will go into effect later this month.

The city had issued few warnings to restaurants that flouted the ban as they campaigned to overturn it.

The decision angered animal rights groups. Foie gras is made from the livers of force-fed ducks and geese, a process that activists say is cruel.

Thomas Tunney, the council member who brought the issue to vote, said supporters of the ban had accomplished their goal by "raising awareness".

He said that while he respected their viewpoint, "this is clearly a matter the council should stay out of and let the educated consumer and chefs make their own menu choices".

The ban was imposed after a 48-1 vote in April 2006.

'Duckeasies'

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said the repeal had been made in "a secretive, rushed bow to special interests that benefit from the cruel treatment of animals".

But Didier Durand, one of the Chicago chefs who formed a movement to end the ban, called the decision "fabulous".

"All of us are so excited," he told reporters outside his restaurant while holding his duck Nicolai - named after French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Mr Durand acknowledged that his restaurant had been a "duckeasy", getting round the ban by serving foie gras for free.

"Duckeasy" is a play on Chicago's "speakeasies", illegal bars that operated when the sale of alcohol was banned during the American prohibition.

Doug Sohn, the owner of Hot Doug's "sausage superstore and encased meat emporium" and recipient of a $250 (129) fine for serving foie gras last year, said he was happy about the decision.

"I truly hope this ends it," he told the Associated Press news agency.

"There are real important issues in this city. This is certainly not one of them."


SEE ALSO
Councillors approve foie gras ban
04 Oct 07 |  North Yorkshire
Foie gras banned in Chicago
23 Aug 06 |  Americas


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