Sunday, June 19, 2011

a bit more on chickens

Hello everyone,

At the expense of a slightly clenched jaw and a bit of an eye twitch, one of my alter egos wrote a polite letter to London city councillors. Excepts follow.

Best regards, Why's Woman


At Monday's Council meeting [June 20] I look forward to a majority vote of Council endorsing the report ... Overview of Policies and By-laws from Other Municipalities that deal with Backyard Chickens*-- ...

I also look forward to a majority vote of Council accepting the staff recommendation to call a Public Participation meeting on the subject of raising chickens and that any aspect of the topic may be spoken about.

Last year, I took time to do research into the subject of raising chickens in urban areas, and how it related to food security. [then there were delays in a report going to council]

[after all this time] ... I fully expected that once [the report was in] the Council would call for a Public Participation meeting, as the next step in citizen participation on this topic that is - ultimately and intimately - connected with the future of London's urban food security. Everyone who has an interest in this topic expected that in the step-by-step process of governance, our elected representatives would give Londoners an opportunity to be heard. The analogy that comes to mind is the social justice "witnessing" ... that is what public participation meetings are about.

There has been much written over the last few years concerning raising chickens in urban areas. There are many models. I attach to this e-mail the resource list and article I submitted last year to members of council and some City staff. I will augment it for my submission to the Public Participation process [previous post]:

A growing number of Canadians already have a huge interest in food issues: healthy growing methods and shorter shipping distances - which relate to both the nutrient content of food and fossil fuel use; humane animal raising practices; Canada's self-sufficiency in food production; fairer trade practices.

Within the next twenty years food production will not just be in rural areas surrounding cities. More people who live in cities like London will produce more food in backyard gardens, in cooperative gardens on shared lots, and on land farmed by small business entrepreneurs. Many paths of urban agriculture will be explored. The raising of chickens will be a logical, natural part of this.

... people should be able to grow, or raise, good food for themselves. To me, this comes from a human history of practicality and common sense. It is also manifest in the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human rights in its articles dealing with social security and a standard of living adequate for health and well-being (which includes food and medical care).

Certainly, it is the responsibility of Londoners who want to raise chickens to educate themselves about both the practicalities of raising chickens and the concerns that some Londoners and Council may have. In the near term, raising any animal involves responsibilities to the animal, and there are also responsibilities to neighbours. In the longer term, we - people who want to raise chickens and our City representatives - have a responsibility to examine how London will be prepared to feed itself more locally 20 and 30 years from now when we will have do so.

A Public Participation meeting to do with the raising of chickens in London is an important part of this examination.


* to find the report on the June 16/11 agenda of London's Community and Neighbourhoods Committee agenda, item 26...... Go to

and then click on the second line, which links to the PDF of agenda items 25 through 32. In the left had icon list you'll find a bookmarks link ( looks like a roll of toilet paper). Click on this to get the Bookmarks open - then click on item 26 to get to the report Overview of Policies and By-laws from other municipalities that deal with backyard chickens.

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