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Trials & Litigation

Libel Suit Over Foie Gras Video That Prompted ‘Silliest Law’ Settles

Posted Jun 18, 2009 7:50 AM CDT
By Molly McDonough

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A suit filed by an animal rights activist who claims he was defamed by a California-based foie gras producer has settled for an undisclosed sum.

Underlying the issues in the suit was a reportedly gruesome video that spurred a national debate and led to a short-lived ordinance in Chicago barring foie gras from restaurant menus, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Not long after the ordinance was enacted, Mayor Richard Daley said the ban on the duck and goose liver delicacy was "the silliest law the City Council has ever passed." Council members ultimately bowed to pressure and reversed the ban in May of last year. But the libel case lived on and was headed to trial this week in Cook County Circuit Court.

The 5-minute video in question, shot by Bryan Pease and members of the San Diego-based Animal Protection and Rescue League, reportedly shows ducks being force-fed and attacked by rats. In the suit, Pease alleged Guillermo Gonzalez, the owner of Sonoma Foie Gras, libeled him in a 2005 Tribune article in which Gonzalez was quoted saying Pease's video was staged.

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