Was it ever really a topic for legislative debate? According to Mayor Richard Daley, NO.
Yesterday, Chicago’s City Council repealed a law that had banned the sale of foie gras since it passed in the spring of 2006. Daley declared the ordinance, “the silliest law the City Council has ever passed.”
The cruelties of farming foie gras, in which sedentary ducks are force fed by tubes to engorge the liver, have been highly publicized and debated over the past several years, leading California to set its own ban on the delicacy in 2012.
The concern with implementing the ban of foie gras, as Daley pointed out, was that it never evaporated from menus. Chefs found a way to give the customer what they wanted.
“They can’t sell it to you [but] they can put it on your salad and increase your salad by $20,” Daley said, to the Chicago Tribune yesterday. “They can put in on a piece of toast and charge you $10 for a piece of toast. Does that make sense? This is what government should be doing? Telling you what you should put on toast or on a salad? I mean, think about that.”
The mayor raises valid arguments. I personally pass on veal anytime I see it on the menu. I may squirm a bit when someone else orders it and perhaps offer a snide remark. But in my own sentiment of hypocrisy, which I begrudgingly divulge here, during that same meal, I might enjoy seared foie gras over toast points. Grant the condensation of guilt that builds if I give it too long of a thought—usually I’m able to drink it down with a glass of Amontillado.
In the end whether it’s, foie gras, veal, lamb, or grub worms; it’s left on the ethical fabric of the chef and consumer. Unfortunately there is no such thing as a chef-client confidentiality agreement.