HELP! I have 5 minutes infront of City Council...what should I say?

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances' started by Emilys3guppies, Nov 16, 2009.

  1. Emilys3guppies

    Emilys3guppies Songster

    Jun 1, 2009
    I've been writing letters to our city councillors for sometime now and I finally have a spot reserved at the next council meeting: next MONDAY!! So soon.

    Anyway, they have allotted me 5 minutes to speak my piece as to why urban chickens should be legal. I have many reasons for keeping them myself, but hope that others can help with what I should include in my speach. I will include copies of other bylaws where chickens are legal.

    If you had 5 minutes, what would you say?

  2. kcravey

    kcravey In the Brooder

    Nov 10, 2009
    East Texas
    Good for you!!! [​IMG]

    Mention it should be the right of EVERY American to raise their own food! Eggs from the store are from chickens that never see the light of day. They never get to eat grass or bugs. They are fed antibiotics and they are not healthy or fresh! Many of the birds are raised in tiny cages where they are never allowed to even turn around or stretch their legs, stressed their entire lives and the public (i.e. the COUNCIL) have to eat those stress hormones and antibiotics!

    Show some of the You-Tube videos of where THEIR meat and eggs come from! (thats what got us started on this adventure - my daughter saw those and refused to eat store bought meat/eggs after that and made everyone feel guilty for eating them also!)

    Get them sooo grossed out that they all want their own chickens! ha ha! Show them how chickens are clean if they are allowed to be raised in their natural environment (outside with grass and bugs). Show them how they control the bug population and get along well with children and adults.

    My daughter found some places online that were sending us literature of what restaurants/store chains were supporting animal cruelty to poultry. They had all kinds of information and pictures you might be able to download and show them. She would place them on our table right before dinner to gross us out!

    Also, they may be concerned about "ugly" coops - show them some beautiful "urban" coops the people could use.

    Noise concerns? - show them how dogs bark all night long at squirrels and people walking by. Hens only make a noise when they lay eggs and they are done well before sunset and dont lay until well after 9 am.

    Good luck! Im rooting for ya!
  3. Emilys3guppies

    Emilys3guppies Songster

    Jun 1, 2009
    Just posting thoughts and bullets to get my thoughts in order.

    *the community, by allowing urban chickens, will be seen as environmentally favourable and it will be appealing to environmentally conscious families.
    *they are legal just an hour away in Brampton Ontario
    *this is a farming community and relies heavily on it's local food sources, this is just another way to encourage that we sponsor these.
    *problems they will throw at me? Smell? Noise? Vermin attracted to feed?
  4. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

    Jan 4, 2009
    Tempe, Arizona
    I don't think I would throw antagonistic statements out such as "it should be the right...!" is a good idea. That is a good argument for rallying like-minded supporters, but not for persuading a city council.

    People keep chickens in the city for many reasons, not all of which are for food. Mention the benefits of natural pest control, homegrown eggs (and bring some eggs from backyard hens versus store bought eggs for comparison, if possible), for exhibition, as pets, etc. Mention 4H and the lessons it teaches.

    The ideas you mention in your 2nd post are excellent--build upon them.

    As far as concerns, identify the current nuisance ordinances and note how they would also apply to backyard flocks. Points such as not allowed at large (roaming off the owners property), noise ordinances already in effect--that it would be the responsibility of the owner to ensure that their animals are kept in a manner that follows those restrictions, identify any health requirements already levied by your state or county. Know the recommended space allocations for chickens and suggest reasonable limits based upon property size, showing how different communities have dealt with that. Avoid suggesting real restrictions such as "no meat birds" or "no roosters" or "must be enclosed" or similar.

  5. redhen

    redhen Kiss My Grits... Premium Member

    May 19, 2008
    Western MA
    Good luck!!
  6. Engteacher

    Engteacher Poultry, Poetry, and Prose

    Sep 1, 2009
    Hastings, MN
    Keep it simple. Why do Madison WI, St. Paul MN, Minneapolis MN and Chicago IL (name more here) allow backyard chickens? They make great back yard pets and they give us food in return. They are quiet, easy to care for, provide entertainment, protein, and provide natural fertilizer for the garden.

    At a time when eating local and "going green" are gaining momentum, you'd think it'd be an easy argument to win. Wouldn't you?

    Best of luck!
  7. Sillystunt

    Sillystunt Master of the Silly

    Jul 11, 2008
    Winter Haven, FL

  8. bumpershoot

    bumpershoot Songster

    perhaps contacting the individual council members to see if they have any specific concerns that you could research and address during your five minutes.
  9. rhoda_bruce

    rhoda_bruce Songster

    Aug 19, 2009
    Cut Off, LA
    If this were me, I would call our local radio station....called talk on the bayou....I'm sure a lot of town have things like that....and I would engage in a conversation to explain to the radio man and to the public listening what was going on and why I believe the laws should be changed and start talking chickens. I would probably have notes before me to make sure I have several points made before hanging up. And I would have called before hand to ask if he would help me out with this problem and keep the conversation going good. In that way I would go in already have some public support and knowledge. I would then ask like minded people to join me at the meeting, just to show support. I would ask them just to show acknowledgement when they liked something to nod there head.
    I would mention reason I wanted chickens and that would be:

    !. I dislike the use of a lawnmower

    2. I would prefer my grass, bugs and table scraps to become meat and eggs, rather than be wasted.

    3. I can make use even of their waste, in my garden, by placing leaves or pine/cypress needles under their roost and returning it to the compost pile when it needs to be replaced.

    4. I know what fresh eggs taste like and I think about that every time I try to eat one of those store bought things.

    5. I can section off my yard and pasture the chickens according to my current needs, such as about 9 weeks before I plan on planting a little garden, I can let them completely clean that area of all grass, weeds and bugs and have a more fertile soil to work with and all I have to do, is turn the ground over and plant and later on they will return, when the garden has given me everything I could get from it and will wipe out all the dying/dead/used up plants and turn it into high-nitogen compost for me, much faster than I could by collecting it and turning it over every few days.

    6. I can significantly cut down my meat cost, by allowing my hens to go broody from time to time, insuring a constant supply of young stock, slaughtering off the cockerals ( unless I need another one ), and replacing the hens with young pullets when they reach 3 or 4 years old.

    7. They only cost between 2.00 to 5.00 dollars depending on how much of a fancy breed you want, as compared to 250.00 for a dog, that will never be eaten, will never lay an egg, frequently barks, needs dog food because he can't live on grass and such and depending on the breed, might very well land me in court. ( at this point I might say something real quick and personal about liking dogs, for certain other things, but that I'm just trying to get my point across that chickens are a good animal for the average person to consider having )

    Then the closing arguements.......highlight all the above, being cheaper to have eggs and meat, easier to keep up the yard provided it is set up correctly, taste better......not to mention healthier, better garden produce. I would also state that I have plans on building a preditor proof coop, that will be pleasing to the eye and will be very functional. That I would like to offer my chickens a safe place to roam by day, free from any worry of escaping neighborhood pets ( in other words, they won't have to make any new laws in the future regarding awarding of damages to you for your neighbors lab getting into your coop )
    I would time myself making this arguement. I would practice saying it a few times. I would pray for courage. I would decide what I needed to elaborate on to make sure I use the entire 5 minutes. I would make eye contact with the council members and use body language, but avoid anger in my face or gestures. And I would smile and thank them for the opportunity to speak my mind.

    I wish you luck.

  10. Emilys3guppies

    Emilys3guppies Songster

    Jun 1, 2009
    Thank you all very much.

    So far I have:
    *written all the local councillors, the mayor and the municipal bylaw officer
    *written the local paper
    *called animal control for #s of poultry complaints (2 last year, btw)
    *put notices up on my local community bulletin boards
    *called all my neighbours and friends to write the city councillors AND to come to the meeting with me

    Thank you for all the ideas and support. This message board really makes this possible.

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