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Tunney and the foie gras repeal
Extended for the Online Edition
by Andrew Davis
2008-05-21

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In a controversial development, Chicago aldermen repealed the ban on the delicacy known as foie gras last week by a vote of 37-6.

On May 14, Mayor Richard Daley forced a vote on the two-year-old ban—over the shouted objections of the measure's sponsor, 49th Ward Alderman Joe Moore, according to The Chicago Tribune. The newspaper also said that 44th Ward Alderman Tom Tunney used a rare manuever to allow for the voting of the ban's repeal. In a statement, Tunney said, 'We always had the votes to defeat the foie gras legislation. ... We have heard overwhelmingly that city residents do not want the council determining what they can and cannot eat. Today's lopsided vote reflects that sentiment.'

Tunney followed a request for a statement with a call to Windy City Times, and detailed the history of the ban's passing and repeal, stating that, initially, the ban went through city council without objection because, in part, 'it was not reported out that it passed out of the [ health ] committee … and it was passed six month later under the omnibus, where you just vote on perfunctory matters. Only about seven aldermen were aware of this law.' Tunney then said that he introduced the repeal in July 2007, using what he called Rule 41—'when we discharge the chairman of a committee from something that's sitting in his committee that he should have brought out.' He said that the maneuver was 'unusual but legal,' and that he 'had the votes to repeal' the ban.

Animal-rights activists criticized the repeal. Foie gras is created by inserting tubes down the throats of ducks and geese that are then fed until their livers swell to several times their normal size.


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