United Nations' "RIght to Food"

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances (and how to change' started by nsullivan, Jan 3, 2010.

  1. nsullivan

    nsullivan New Egg

    6
    0
    7
    Apr 9, 2008
    Cincinnati
    From the Winnepeg Free Press- very interesting approach.

    Suburban henhouses may prove hard to block
    By: Laura Rance / Rural Revival
    2/01/2010 1:00 AM | Comments: 6
    PRINT EĀ–MAIL SHARE THIS REPORT ERROR It is widely accepted in principle, although not in practice, that one of the basic human rights is the right to food. So much so, that the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization has a "Right to Food Unit" that works to raise awareness and support global strategies toward that goal.
    And although it is not widely accepted, local and regional governments in North America are routinely asked to pass legislation enshrining farmers' right to farm -- usually aimed at protecting farmers' ability to carry out the business of farming in the face of disapproving neighbours.
    But there is a new food rights discussion that has emerged in jurisdictions big and small.
    What about the right to grow food?
    This issue is at the heart of the World Trade Organization negotiations that have droned on for eight years now. Less-developed countries who can't afford to subsidize their farmers to the same degree as governments in industrialized countries want to keep tariff barriers that protect their domestic agriculture from unnaturally competitive imports. The industrialized exporting countries want more market access, but the agreement as it is currently drafted would deliver little by way of meaningful reductions in domestic subsidies.
    Almost every country views domestic food production as an issue of national security.
    But the question of food independence is also surfacing on a local scale in municipal jurisdictions across North America, particularly as it relates to suburban residents who wish to dabble in poultry.
    A Lac du Bonnet-area family unexpectedly found themselves at the centre of this one last fall after their decision to keep a few laying hens and a rooster on their one-acre property ran into conflict with a local bylaw.
    The municipality prohibits keeping livestock on properties that are zoned residential. So Allison and Jeremy Maki received a letter saying their chickens would have to go.
    They fought the edict and the municipality backed down, saying they could keep their 14 chickens, as long as no one complained. But it refuses to change the bylaw or their zoning.
    "The main reason we got them was because we want to produce our own food," says Allison, who also gardens extensively. In her view, the home-raised birds, which are free-range when the weather is decent, produce more wholesome eggs than those she can buy in the grocery store. What's more, the birds teach their children about where food comes from and how to grow it.
    Tom Carter, a University of Winnipeg geography professor and Canada Research Chair in urban change and adaptation, said the issue has forced administrations to rethink their zoning bylaws, and the pressure is likely to rise. "It is a debate that is surfacing in many cities, and not just in Canada, but in the U.S. as well," he said.
    While urban agriculture involving livestock is commonplace in other parts of the world, it has for the most part been regulated out of existence in North American cities under zoning and nuisance bylaws.
    But when up against a "right to grow food" challenge, it is doubtful jurisdictions would be able to defend their bylaws on the basis of nuisance or noise. For example, can you categorize a clucking hen as more annoying to the neighbours than a barking dog?
    What about environmental contamination? Is a grazing goat, which is truly a lean, green, mowing machine that recycles nutrients and produces nutrition while keeping the grass in check, more of an environmental hazard than a gasoline-powered lawn mower spewing fumes and consuming non-renewable resources? Goats have been known to nibble dandelions and other weeds out of existence better than herbicides.
    True, the goat becomes a traffic hazard and a threat to the neighbour's flower beds if it gets loose, but so do small children and household pets.
    Public health is one argument that might hold up, given the rise in deadly diseases capable of jumping the species barrier. It has also been argued that backyard poultry operations attract rats. Then again, so do some backyards without poultry.
    Provided the proper care is taken, a growing number of municipalities on this continent are saying "why not?" to the question of home-grown food, although some have drawn the line at roosters in the hen house.
    To the extent that it takes place, this development should not unduly worry mainstream food producers. While many consumers might flirt with the idea and some will actually try it, only the most dedicated will persevere.
    The rest will have gained a new appreciation for the hard work that farmers do and be happy to support those efforts -- all the way to their grocer's.
    Laura Rance is editor of the Manitoba Co-operator. She can be reached at 792-4382 or by email:
    [email protected]
    Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 2, 2010 B4
     
  2. WisconsinGardenChick

    WisconsinGardenChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    192
    3
    111
    Jul 30, 2009
    I agree - very interesting approach! Thanks for posting!

    Given the attitude in some quarters in the US to the UN, not sure how successfully that argument can be deployed.

    I'll leave the link to the article here in case others want to access the original.
     
  3. michickenwrangler

    michickenwrangler To Finish Is To Win

    4,511
    16
    241
    Jun 8, 2008
    NE Michigan
    My mother's been using the argument about barking dogs for years. People are allowed to own vicious dogs that try to attack everyone in the neighborhood, but these same people are often the ones putting up a fuss about people owning a few hens or ducks for eggs.
     
  4. dichotomymom

    dichotomymom Chillin' With My Peeps

    447
    0
    139
    Mar 19, 2008
    Dayton Indiana
    That sounds like the right to farm act! I cannot for the life of me figure out how basic human rights can be usurped by superficial ones?!
     
  5. meathook

    meathook Out Of The Brooder

    75
    0
    39
    May 21, 2009
    Sorry, you lost me at United Nations. I don't want to give any credibility to any global body particularly one as corrupt as the UN even if their position supports something I do.

    In my view these are decisions that should be made locally. We may not always agree with them but then it is time to spring into action and change things or move if it is that important to you. I live in a town that has a zoning law prohibiting livestock and I legally have six chickens in my backyard now. It took a lot of work and effort on my part but also paved the way by at least defining the process for the next person. Unfortunately the answer sometimes is ultimately going to be no and then you need to decide if you want to be an outlaw or not. The last thing I want is some international body defining how I am allowed to live.

    Just my .02
     
  6. nsullivan

    nsullivan New Egg

    6
    0
    7
    Apr 9, 2008
    Cincinnati
    It sounds as if some people have objections to the United Nations for a range of reasons. The point of the earlier posting is that there is a globally-agreed position that everyone in the world has a right to food. Local laws preventing "reasonable" access to food sovereignty should be superceded by this global understanding. There is also a globally-agreed position that 12 year old children cannot be pressed into military service; countries where this occurs are violating these international norms.

    Everyone who belongs to this forum is presumably interested in raising chickens not just because they are fun or amusing, but because we want some degree of food sovereignty aka self-sufficiency. While it is not reasonable to raise buffalo in suburbs in the name of self-sufficiency, poultry and pygmy goats should be accepted.

    I haven't seen many postings about raising your own eggs and poultry vs. factory-farmed animals. I am curious to know what BYC folks think about industrial agriculture practices and whether you are intentionally following a different model, or whether your interests are more in line with simply having a few chickens.
     
  7. WisconsinGardenChick

    WisconsinGardenChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    192
    3
    111
    Jul 30, 2009
    Quote:ALL politics is corrupt. Do you want the US gov't to defend your rights, whether or not the gov't is corrupt?

    Your post is a perfect example of what I was talking about in my earlier post.
     
  8. WisconsinGardenChick

    WisconsinGardenChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    192
    3
    111
    Jul 30, 2009
    Quote:I agree wholeheartedly with your mother. I also don't walk my chickens around the neighborhood and let them poop in other people's yards, like some people do around here.
     
  9. redhen

    redhen Kiss My Grits... Premium Member

    35,112
    128
    458
    May 19, 2008
    Western MA
    interesting..
     
  10. WisconsinGardenChick

    WisconsinGardenChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    192
    3
    111
    Jul 30, 2009
    Quote:Yes, and this is why the UN stance is useful. The world's in a bad place when the obvious has to be stated. It's also important given corporate control over our food supply, and their goals to extend this control (e.g. GMO seeds, efforts of Monsanto to put independent seed producers out of business, etc.)
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by