SALDF Spotlight: Chicago-Kent College of LawPosted by April Nockleby, ALDF's Online Content Manager on March 10, 2009
This spotlight was submitted by Joshua Grant, Co-President of the Chicago-Kent Student Animal Legal Defense Fund.
On February 10, 2009, the Chicago-Kent Student Animal Legal Defense Fund hosted the Chicago-Kent “Foie Gras Panel” to debate the legality, wisdom, and ramifications of Chicago’s former ban on the sale of foie gras. Panelists included Chicago Alderman Joe Moore, sponsor of the city’s foie gras ban; Chicago-Kent professor Sheldon H. Nahmod, Distinguished Professor of Law and Co-Director of the Institute for Law and the Humanities; and Mark Caro, Chicago Tribune reporter and author of The Foie Gras Wars: How a 5,000-Year-Old Delicacy Inspired the World’s Fiercest Food Fight. With over sixty attendees, spirited debate among the panelists, and coverage from the Chicago media, the event was a resounding success.
The panel focused its discussion on the recent foie gras controversy that has been in the forefront of a heated national debate involving everyone from animal rights activists to politicians, the media, and the nation’s legal scholars. On April 26, 2006 the Chicago City Council banned the sale of foie gras in Chicago’s restaurants, making Chicago the first city in the history of the world to ban the product. A lawsuit in federal court soon followed, and a federal judge in Illinois Restaurant Association v. City of Chicago upheld the law as constitutional under the Illinois and Federal constitutions. Despite this decision, the ban continued to spark heated debate. Animal rights activists argued the ban was appropriate because force-feeding causes an extraordinary amount of pain to animals and is therefore cruel. Chefs and restaurant patrons argued they had a right to serve and eat what they want without government intervention. Even Chicago’s Mayor, Richard Daley, joined the dispute, calling the ban the “silliest” law Chicago had ever passed.
Read Joshua’s full SALDF Spotlight.