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  • Category: Actions You Can Take > Factory Farms > Chicken Farms

    Chicago Won’t Swallow Foie Gras Cruelty

    Chicago, a city well-known for its meatpacking history, the city upon which Upton Sinclair's The Jungle was based, now has a new claim to fame—compassionate leadership. A new ban the sale of foie gras, a paté notorious for its cruelty, has earned the Windy City a place in animal welfare history.

    Thanks to the leadership of Alderman Joe Moore (D-49th Ward) and the City Council, Chicago joins California and more than a dozen countries—including the United Kingdom, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Israel, Norway, Poland, Sweden and Switzerland—in taking legislative action on the issue of foie gras and cruel force-feeding practices.

    On April 26, the council passed an ordinance prohibiting the sale of foie gras. Foie gras is a "delicacy" made from the diseased, fattened liver created by force-feeding ducks or geese, which can cause painful bruising, lacerations, sores, and even organ rupture. Due to this abnormal diet, the birds' livers can enlarge up to 10 times the normal size, making it difficult for the birds to move comfortably, though sometimes they have no choice. Often, the birds are crammed into small cages where they cannot even turn around or spread their wings.


    "The HSUS commends the Chicago City Council for passing this humane ordinance and halting the sale of one of the most cruel and indefensible factory-farmed products," said Michael Markarian, executive vice president of The HSUS. "Alderman Moore and Chicago lawmakers have taken the lead in ending the abuse of ducks and geese for a mere table treat."

    In addition to working with Farm Sanctuary and other organizations, The HSUS actively supported the measure since its inception, mobilizing its Chicago-area members and taking out full-page ads in prominent newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, and The Catholic New World. Hundreds of people contacted the Chicago City Council in support of the ban.

    The council clearly got the message.

    "Many describe the production process for foie gras as cruel and inhumane," Alderman Moore wrote in October. "I think that's an understatement...The force feeding lasts from two to four weeks before the birds are slaughtered and during that time the birds experience increased pain and suffering with each passing day."

    As the first city council to approve a ban on the sale of foie gras, Chicago could be a model for other humane-minded municipalities. For the sake of the 500,000 birds abused and killed for foie gras each year, we encourage other cities and counties to give Chicago the sincerest form of flattery. For help on initiating a similar measure where you live, please contact
    This page was last modified on 04/26/2006.

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