Latest on Chicago Chicken ordinance

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Wolfpacker, Dec 12, 2007.

  1. Wolfpacker

    Wolfpacker Songster

    Jul 7, 2007

    published:Dec. 11, 2007 10:28 AM

    It's an issue that's beginning to ruffle a lot of feathers.

    But puns aside, the Chicago City Council's proposed ban on chicken farming has significant implications for the city's immigrant populations and others committed to raising fowl in the city, according to critics of the measure.

    The council is set to vote tomorrow on legislation banning ownership of live chickens in residential areas.

    The proposal's sponsor, Ald. Lona Lane (D, 18th Ward), did not return repeated calls seeking information about it.

    The council's Committee on Health, which passed the amendment Nov. 20, cited concerns relating to noise, debris, and rats. Lane cited concerns that disease could be linked to chickens.

    Proponents of urban agriculture see the proposed ban as a hasty and ill-advised measure that flies in the face of the trend toward sustainable local food systems that promote community and help consumers to reduce their carbon footprints.

    The Chicago Food Policy Advisory Council (CFPAC), a network of forty organizations that works to promote urban agriculture and green enterprises has asked 28th Ward Ald. Ed Smith, who chairs the health committee, to table the ordinance before the 12th.

    Edie Cavanaugh, who provided the sole citizen testimony for the health committee, strongly opposes residential chickens. She said her neighborhood in West Lawn includes at least 10 chickens and several roosters.

    "Chickens are dirty and smelly," said Cavanaugh. "If people want to raise chickens they can go buy a farm. If they want eggs they should go to a grocery store. They [the chickens] don't belong in the city."

    "My street has a rat problem, big-time," said Cavanaugh, who believes that rats are attracted to the chicken droppings and feed. "And rats spread disease."

    Linda Nellett, a proud chicken owner in the 45th Ward, begs to disagree. Nellett, whose three hens produce one egg each on a daily basis, said her chickens lessen environmental stress and provide a healthy alternative to the factory food system.

    "I don't feel like I have to worry about where my eggs are coming from," said Nellett. "They don't have to be trucked from far away. Nor are they coming from a factory where they're kept in small cages or dosed with all kinds of antibiotics."

    Far from being a nuisance to her neighborhood, said Nellett, the chickens "are really an asset."

    "I've had so many neighbors come up to see me and reminisce about memories from being on farms or growing up on farms when they were children. They enjoy bringing their grandchildren over to feed the chickens," said Nellett.

    Martha Boyd is director of the Urban Initiative program at Angelic Organics Learning Center and a member of the CFPAC.

    "We recognize that the city has legitimate concerns," said Boyd. "But many of these concerns are addressed in other ordinances."

    She pointed to exiting city laws that outlaw the slaughter of chickens on residential property and describe proper methods for handling organic matter to prevent the proliferation of rats. There are also nuisance laws on the books that protect neighbors against pets that are not cared for responsibly.

    Boyd suggested that this an opportunity for the city to learn from other municipalities. Some U.S. cities allow the raising of chickens on residential property and outline basic best practices and basic requirements that minimize concerns such as noise and pests, she said.

    In St. Louis, up to four chickens may be kept without a permit. New York City bans roosters, but allows residents to keep an unlimited number of chickens, as long as they acquire permits and keep their dwelling areas clean.

    "There are people who are bad dog owners too, and we don't ban dogs, she said. There is such a thing as responsible chicken ownership," said Boyd.

    Nance Klem, an urban food forager and activist from Little Village, suspects that anti-immigrant sentiment might be fueling the chicken ban in Chicago. Klem works with residents in her primarily Latino neighborhood on food exchange systems.

    "The thing about this ordinance is that it really hits immigrant communities the hardest," said Klem, who hears and sees free-range hens all the time on her street.

    "This is a very land-based and food-based culture," said Klem, who described her neighborhood as one of wide streets and long-established homeowners . "Most people here own the property they live on," said Klem. "Everybody that I know on my block has been here since the 1950s. They are people very connected to place, and they are carrying on the traditions of their families, many of them campesinos."

    "It's an inexpensive and holistic way of keeping a protein source nearby." Klem.

    Julie Peterson, of the Ravenswood social justice and environmental organization Beyond Today, said the legislation has wider implications for those interested in sustainable agriculture and environmental practices.

    "We need to make it a principle to maintain vigilance on our local laws to protect any activity which helps people to be environmentally responsible," said Peterson. She points to ordinances in other cities that prohibit laundry lines. "They see these as a sign of poverty and not energy conservation," she said.

    "It looks like I will be an 'outlaw' as of Wednesday," said Nellett. " These chickens are my pets, and I will not just dump them somewhere. It will take time to responsibly re-home them, and it is not possible for me to drop everything and concentrate solely on finding a good home for my hens."​
  2. JenniferJoIN

    JenniferJoIN Songster

    Sep 10, 2007
    Southern Indiana
    We need to send a rat-eating hen to Mr. Cavanaugh to help him with his problem!
  3. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    Chickens equated with laundry lines and a sign of poverty???? Tell that to Martha Stewart! BTW, why is poverty a crime?
  4. Wolfpacker

    Wolfpacker Songster

    Jul 7, 2007
    I was at a Christmas party last week in my neighborhood and learned that some of my neighbors (pretentious 30-somethings) don't like laundry lines. One said she didn't mind them as long as people didn't hang out their underwear.

    These are the same people who reveal every detail of their personal lives while talking on their cell phones in the grocery check-out line!

    Most of my neighbors had no idea I had chickens. Once they found out, they gave me a lot of good-natured ribbing.
  5. Cuban Longtails

    Cuban Longtails Flock Mistress

    Sep 20, 2007
    Northeast Texas
    I want a laundry line, the cost of running a clothes dryer is atrocious! Not to mention the wasted energy!

    It's just plain sad that the opinions of a chosen few are taken to heart when the majority stands against it. Chickens aren't dirty, the people who won't care for them properly are.

    Edited because my spelling is atrocious....
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 12, 2007
  6. Boy, the neighbors would really hate me for being none-too-hip....

  7. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

    What a buncha SPLORT!!!!
    Those are the same bunch that don't want windmills to make energy, drive SUV's, worship at the altar of the almighty dollar and have the NIMBY attitude.
  8. rooster-red

    rooster-red Here comes the Rooster

    Jun 10, 2007
    Douglasville GA
    What a crock!
    :thun [​IMG]

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