Foie Gras ban should be statewide

By Gene Baur

Zogby International, the well-known polling and market research firm, just released the findings of a nationwide survey which asked likely voters and members of the general public a range of questions about foie gras.

Chicago area residents who have been subjected to a barrage of misleading rhetoric and incomplete newspaper stories and telecasts about foie gras since the City Council voted 49-1 last year to ban the serving of it in city restaurants, should find the Zogby results refreshing.

Meanwhile, effete political leaders in Chicago, who have openly ridiculed the historic ordinance, and law-breaking Windy City restaurant owners, who continue to serve the so-called delicacy, will find they have been unmasked by the poll’s conclusions.

For openers, the notion that Chicago’s ban on foie gras somehow is going to deprive legions of well-heeled diners of a wildly sought after, cannot-do-without-appetizer, comes as an unalloyed myth, according to poll findings. So is the claim that the ban is taking a healthy slice out of restaurant profits.

When poll respondents were asked how often they consumed foie gras, 2 percent replied once a month. Three percent said at least once a year. Another 37 percent had never eaten it while the greatest number, 50 percent had never heard of the expensive appetizer.

The greatest piece of misinformation utterly refuted by the poll is the notion- advanced not-so-subtly by opponents of the Chicago ordinance, that those most in favor of the law and most prepared in fiercely fighting any attempts to repeal it, are members of some tiny, fuzzy fringe group.

Wrong!

When Zogby pollsters informed respondents that foie gras, French for fatty liver, was produced by force-feeding ducks and geese with large quantities of food through a pipe shoved down their throats, that the practice caused liver disease and other torments, and that several European countries and California had outlawed the practice, this is how they responded to the central question of whether the practice should be outlawed in the U.S.

An overwhelming majority, a whopping 73 percent, said they agreed that it should be outlawed. Only 21 percent said they disagreed and six percent said they were uncertain.

Given these poll results, is it not time to take Chicago’s enlightened lead to the next level? Is it not time that the General Assembly in Springfield adopt a statewide law banning the production and sale of foie gras?

Gene Baur

president and co-founder

Farm Sanctuary

Watkins Glen, NY