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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Chicago vs. PETA: The Uprising!

Before reading this, you might want to catch up by reading the previous parts of this Chicago vs. PETA series:

PART 1: Chicago Bans Food and PETA is to Blame
PART 2: Chicago vs. PETA: The Foie Gras Debate!
PART 3: Chicago vs. PETA: The Lawsuit!

And join us in the fourth installment of a series of posts that (in the opinion of the writer) should never have come to be. And PETA is to blame; they shock-videoed the Chicago City Council into agreeing to sign a law banning foie gras from the city. In the second part, I discussed the studies and FACTS proving that the reasons BEHIND the law are unfounded and not based on any facts at all. In the third part I got to speak of the Illinois Restaurant Association (IRA) who believes so strongly in this cause that it's practically paying for both sides of the legal battle, based on the fact that it's unconstitutional to make a city law overturning something the federal government approves, let alone deciding what people can/cannot eat. This fourth installment is about the first day of the ban, and what the IRA is doing to fight it.

Because foie gras hasn't gone away - it's being served in more places than EVER!

In a form of civil disobedience straight out of the heart of America, Chicago restaurants are creating an uprising against the city ordinance banning the sale of foie gras by selling it EVERYWHERE! (Oh, when I say "heart of America", I mean making a point AND turning a profit.) Acting out against the unfair banning of a food item that the federal government has no problem with grading, testing and selling all across the country. There are a few other cities that have passed such an ordinance about the non-vegetarian delicacy, but Chicago is the first one to be hit by it, and Chicagoans and their restaurant owners are more than willing to hit back.

The famous Harry Caray's has never before sold foie gras in its restaurant. But to spite this ban that took effect yesterday, the owners were proud to add a few new items to the menu: a pan-seared foie gras and scallops appetizer ($14.95) and a Vesuvio-style entree pairing foie gras and tenderloin ($33.95). Why would a restaurant that was not previously in violation of the ordinance decide to add these violation-items on the day the ordinance takes effect?

Says owner Grant DePorter, "This ban is embarrassing Chicago. We really don't think the City Council should decide what Chicagoans eat. What's next? Some other city outlaws brussels sprouts? Another outlaws chicken? Another, green beans?"

So with all of these restaurants not subtly but BLATANTLY defying the unfair city ordinance AND profiting from it, what is the city going to do to them?

So far - nothing.

Tim Hadac, a spokesman for the Chicago Department of Public Health that should be enforcing this ban, said that although the law went into effect yesterday, on Tuesday the 22nd, the city would start enforcing it today. He went on to later say what the enforcement WOULD be, and the answer is practically "very little". City officials will respond to citizen complaints, said Hadac, first sending a warning letter to restaurants, then demanding a fine - from $250 to $500 - for second offenses. Joe Moore, the guy who proposed the unconstitutional ban in the first place, added that "The city gave them a day of fun, but tomorrow we'll see what happens."

Yes. We certainly will. And I'll keep on posting about it to try and raise awareness of this unjust law that you and PETA brought into this city like a pestilence until things have been made right again. And frankly, going back to my orignal comment at the start of this article about the "heart of America" - at the prices that Harry Caray's is selling the foie gras dishes alone, don't you think it's laughable to have the SECOND slap (after all the time it takes to mail letters nowadays) fine be $250-$500? I can just see DePorter saying "Uh-oh, another $500 fine! Let's sell 20 more foie gras entrees, turn a profit, and STICK IT TO 'EM!" and possibly adding a Harry Caray tribute of "HOLY COW!"

Stay tuned for more in the Chicago vs. PETA series - a series we wouldn't have had in the first place if it weren't for PETA sticking its nose in YOUR dinner plate.

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