Banned in: Chicago
Fans of foie gras celebrate its luxurious taste and texture, but animal rights advocates decry the cruelty of force-feeding geese and ducks via a feeding tube to enlarge their livers before slaughter. In 2006, the Chicago City Council agreed with the protestors and banned the retail sale of foie gras. (Update: In May 2008, the council reversed course and lifted the ban.)
The law is enforced by citizen complaint, and restaurateurs risk fines of up to $500 per violation. There is a loophole, however: While it's illegal to sell foie gras, it's not illegal to give it away, so restaurants and hotels just serve foie under the umbrella of other menu items.
"We sell more than ever now," Jimmy Florek, owner of Chicago Game & Gourmet, an epicurean meat and produce supplier. While he doesn't personally approve of foie gras, he's happy to serve the market: "If they don't buy it from me, they'll just buy it from someone else."
California has enacted a similar ban that takes effect in 2012.
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