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Let Them Eat Foie!

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Let Them Eat Foie!

Foie gras at MK before the ban (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

Chicago’s infamous foie gras ban is officially coming to an end. Wednesday, aldermen voted 37-6, as allies of Mayor Richard Daley forced through a repeal of the ordinance.

The heavily-covered, bizarrely contentious ban was put in place because of the cruel practices involved in making foie gras. The process involves force-feeding geese until they become obese, and then eating their livers.

The ban was controversial from the start, and its opponents were lead by Mayor Daley.

DALEY: You can’t eat this, you can’t eat that. The city council will be sitting in your basically kitchen determine what you can eat on a Sunday after church.

Chicagoans are not especially known for eating a lot fois gras, even on Sunday after church.

But the ban went on to be mocked and poorly enforced—opponents in the council saying it had been a waste of time. Then yesterday, those same opponents ironically used more of the council’s time to clumsily repeal the ban.

First they forced the proposed repeal out of committee—something that’s considered sort of tacky if not an outright faux pas.

The clumsiness continued as the man behind the repeal, Alderman Tom Tunney mispronounced foie gras.

TUNNEY: I call for a roll call vote on the ordinance to repeal the foe gwah ban.

Tunney, who is a restauranteur, did it repeatedly.

TUNNEY: The foe gwah ban.

But most awkward moment came when Mayor Daley called for a vote on the repeal. Alderman and ban sponsor Joe Moore asked many times for floor, but Daley ignored him—insisting the vote be called.

DALEY: Clerk call the roll. Clerk call the roll. Clerk call the roll.

Moore continued to ask to speak. And it got so awkward that the clerk staff paused—but Daley wouldn’t have it.

DALEY: Clerk call the roll. Keep going.

Eventually, once the ban was already erased, Moore got to talk—and he warned others in the council, who had remained silent while he got steamrolled.

MOORE: Today it could happen to me, tomorrow it could happen to you. All we were asking for was a simple debate on the issue. A simple public debate.

Still, even with victory in hand, Daley made sure to get the last dig.

DALEY: Thank you Alderman Joe “Foie Gras” Moore

Afterwards, Moore said repealing the ban is a step backward on issues of animal rights. But said what bothered him just as much is what the episode says about the mayor’s style of leadership.

MOORE: He feels he can do anything he wants. One day it’s putting Xs in airport runways. The next day it’s ignoring a hundred years of precedent and trying to put a building in Grant Park. Today it’s cutting off debate, not even allowing debate. What is it going to be tomorrow? Why do we even meet as a city council? Why do we even meet?

Daley defended his decision not to allow Moore to talk—and said the issue had already been previously debated—and he thought that was enough.

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