Sunday, January 23, 2011

Urban Hen Supporters Hope for Municipal Eggucation

(Windsor, ON)  Urban chicken supporters return to City Hall today (Monday, January 24th) with the hope that council will strike up a working committee to examine the pros and cons of backyard hens. The issue had been shelved previously but media attention and an outcry of public support has brought the topic back to the agenda.

The issue has gained momentum with the backing of some credible support including Dr. David Sion, Chief of Plastic Surgery at Windsor Regional Hospital, who emphasizes the need to address the interconnection between education, poverty, health issues, and backyard food production.

In a letter supporting urban chickens, Taras Natashak, Federal NDP Candidate for Essex says, “I am confident that given the appropriate attention and consideration, the benefits of urban food production can be fully realized as a direct advantage to this region and its citizens. With proper regulation, training, guidelines and enforcement, a safe and valuable model of production can be achieved.”

Adriano Ciotoli of WindsorEats says, “It’s about listening to constituents and hearing what they have to say about the issue. People are becoming increasingly concerned about the origins of their food.  They want to be able to put food on their table they can trust.”

Members and supporters of CLUCK (Canadian Liberated Urban Chicken Klub) have been contacting their councilors this week, asking them to allow the issue of urban chickens to be examined in detail. Many supporters have come forward to say they do not want to have chickens of their own, but believe it’s a positive step for the city and those who want to grow their own food. In a letter of support from Prince Edward Island, former Windsor resident, Joshua Biggley, added that ideas like this can create opportunities to welcome creative, influential and motivated individuals back to the city.

CLUCK is a grass roots group hoping to get the issue of allowing backyard hens added to City Bylaw 8156, which was enacted in 1985.  The bylaw currently allows for residents to own 2 dogs, 4 cats, 2 rabbits, and 80 pigeons, but prohibits ownership of domestic fowl.

CLUCK is careful to point out that roosters are not needed for egg production so their request is therefore limited to hens. They also stress that participation in urban chicken ownership will be a minority of a minority.  ”If the bylaw was amended there wouldn’t be chickens in everyone’s backyards.  Only people who are very serious about the issue will make the investment in raising their own eggs.”

An interesting array of delegates is listed to speak at council, including CLUCK members, local residents, a University professor, and a veterinarian with known ties to the poultry and egg industry.

Pro-chicken residents hope the recent outpouring of grassroots support and extensive paperwork available on the issue will be enough to convince City Council that this is a topic that should be examined further.

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Please keep the Windsor urban chicken discussion going! We love to 'read your constructive comments.