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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Chicago vs. PETA: Offenders on the Offense!

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!
PART 4: Chicago vs. PETA: The Uprising!
PART 5: Chicago vs. PETA: The First Offense!
PART 6: Chicago vs. PETA: A Step In The Right Direction?

And join us in the seventh 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. In the fourth part I got to talk about the restaurants fighting back and how more were serving foie gras than ever once the law took effect. In the fifth part, we learned about the first victim of the law and how little the city even cared, other than the media. In part six, the mayor decided to reconsider his stance on the issue. Part seven revisits the restaurants, several months after the ban went into effect.

And for "offenders" - they certainly are taking the offensive in the foie gras dispute!

Five months after the city ordered restaurants to stop selling foie gras, some fancy restaurants and gourmet shops no longer offer the goose or duck liver delicacy, while others are flouting the ban, listing foie gras on their menus and, in one case, framing the city's warning letter.

That's right, Doug Sohn - owner of Hot Doug's gourmet sausage store - thinks the whole thing is so silly that he framed the warning letter issued by the Health Department and hung it on the wall the way most restaurants hang celebrity endorsements.

And in a way, the notice from the Health Department IS like an endorsement to some of these restaurant owners. In fact, since the ban started over five months ago - there have been a total of NINE complaints. Once again, the result of a first-time complaint is (drumroll, please) a WARNING LETTER. So hanging one of these fabled warning letters is like displaying a limited-edition work of art.

After all, one can only hope that Chicago's aldermen will inevitably pull their heads out of their asses long enough to consider Mayor Daley's proposal to remove the ban that he declared "the silliest ordinance the City Council has ever passed." Once that has been acheived, there will be no more warning letters, and odds are there will have been no fines issued.

One restaurant did come close, as they were almost given a citation from the Health Department for selling foie gras. Fortunately, Bin 36 wasn't actually SELLING the foie gras in question. It was specifically noted that the foie gras terrine was a COMPLIMENTARY addition to the wild mushroom confit salad. Would the salad have cost less without the complimentary foie gras? Sure. But that's not the point. The point is that restaurants are FLAUNTING their foie gras services (and gaining business for doing so) as a mockery of the idiots who put the law into effect and those who support it in general.

Of course, the activists are claiming that the ban is "working".

"Our supporters are going into restaurants, and we're told that they are not selling foie gras," said Gene Baur, president of Farm Sanctuary, a national farm animal protection organization.

Hey, guess what, Gene Baur?

IT'S CALLED LYING! You know, that thing you do when moronic protesters come into your business griping about things? You placate them as efficiently and effectively as possible so they get the hell out - and then resume business as usual.

That's like a cop coming into a Prohibition-era establishment asking if they're serving liquor!

"No sir, officer!"
"Alright, carry on then."
**officer leaves**
**booze resumes flowing**

In fact, that's a very apt analogy - since some restauranteurs have turned the foie gras ban into a new Prohibition, speakeasies and all! A speakeasy was an establishment where you gained access by knowing the password - and at least a few Chicago restaurants will certainly oblige if you ask them for the "special lobster" dish.

But ya didn't hear it from me, see??

Alderman Joe Moore, the ordinance's chief sponsor, said he realizes the Health Department has more pressing issues, but he is dismayed to see restaurants flouting the ordinance. "It evinces a certain degree of arrogance on the part of these establishments," he said.

You can call it arrogance. I prefer to call it "delicious".

Arrogance, sir, is taking a food item that is approved by the United States Department of Agriculture for production and sales - and then claiming that your city is "better" than the United States and its decisions by taking away the rights of citizens to sell or purchase that food.

At least that's one meat-eater's opinion on the matter. What's yours?

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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