Kingsville hosts the next battle in the urban chicken war when town council on Monday is expected to be asked to endorse the keeping of backyard hens for personal egg consumption.
It follows by weeks the chicken crackdown in Amherstburg when a young family was ordered to remove its hens following an anonymous complaint.
After Sarah Noemi Kacso and Colin McMahon brought some egg-laying chickens to their Windsor city home last year, they were so thrilled and so convinced of the logic of this immediate source of fresh, healthy, cheap and nutritious protein, not to mention the friendly, quiet demeanor of the feathered critters and their popularity with kids on the block, that they plugged into social media to broadcast the benefits. Their neighbors were fine with the idea, but, again, some anonymous prig alerted the authorities, and Windsor’s bylaws, while seeing nothing wrong with the harbouring of 80 pigeons per household, were followed to the letter in banishing the hens.
Note to the self-appointed backyard police: are you aware Windsor’s bylaws also expressly prohibit depositing scooped-up pet litter or even soiled baby diapers into the trash?
For the life of me, I cannot understand what all the chicken panic is about and why some local politicians and some local officials are struck with terror at the idea of someone in town or city keeping a hen or two (or even four) in their backyard.
The arguments against are ludicrous. My goodness, a hen today and then what’s next? Goats? Sheep? Cows? Horses?
Nope. Let those very few urban folk who so desire have some hens for personal and family egg consumption (no sales, no butchering, no roosters, no apartment dwellers). The poultry of the city slickers I know who have them don’t cause problems with smells, noise, disease.
Vancouver, which boasts the densest concentration of residents of any Canadian city, started allowing up to four hens per household last year, subject to some common sense conditions, and yet there’s still no heavy clamoring to add pigs and cows to the mix.
My own newspaper this week called editorially on people interested in backyard eggs to banish the thought and instead head out to the county to support the more than 1,700 local farms. Well, not one of those farms can legally sell you an egg at the door or from their roadside stands.
The people I know who are clamoring for city chickens are also very much the types who support local farmers. That’s the whole point – it’s about food security, both in ensuring the ongoing economic viability of close sources of food and in promoting the improved health that comes from eating nutritionally superior, locally grown produce.
Check out some of those pushing for urban chickens – they’re not the Beverly Hillbillies (without the crude wealth), they’re young, urbane, savvy, health- and eco-conscious, brimming with new ideas and very much in tune with the needs of their neighborhoods and local economies.
They’re the kinds of people you’d want next door.
Posted by: Doug Schmidt
I could not have said it better myself; AMEN!!!