Thursday, April 30, 2009

Bobcast: Chickens in the city

Latest Bobcast is up. Listen here or read below.

It’s a twist on the old saying. The updated version is that if it looks like a chicken, clucks like a chicken and pecks like a chicken, most cities don’t want it around.

Anniston is no different. Its city code bans fowl, except for exotic breeds.
Some friends found this out first-hand several years ago. A chicken who had apparently fallen off some farmer’s truck took up residence in our friend’s yard. My friends looked after the rooster, feeding it and giving it a name, Cogburn. Not so fast, said the city bureaucrats, who pointed to the city code while hauling Cogburn away.

The reasons for the city prohibitions are obvious enough – public health concerns as well fears over noise.

The reasons more city dwellers are pushing back against the bans are equally obvious. They are rising food prices as well as health concerns over eating poultry products raised on all sorts of growth hormones while confined to massive corporate farming operations.

Its part of the locavore movement, to eat local. Increasingly, American consumers are concerned with how groceries get to their table. With food-borne scares cropping up with greater frequency, the reasons obvious enough. A Google search reveals urban chicken-raising is a spreading across the country.

Thursday’s New York Times notes that some cities are taking a “don’t cluck, don’t tell” policy. That means so long as city residents keep just a few hens in their backyard (no noisy roosters, please), then the bureaucrats look the other way. After all, dogs and cats, which are legal in most towns, can be just as noisy or dirty.

It’s too late to save poor Cogburn. But if the pressure continues apace others here and elsewhere may somebody soon enjoy fresh eggs from their backyards