Backyard chickens – a bad idea
Category : Uncategorized
Vancouver city council is considering allowing Vancouver residents to keep chickens. While I realize that some people will keep chickens and care for them properly, I fear that most will not.
Here are my reasons for opposing this motion:
There are already welfare concerns with the keeping of the animals who are currently allowed, such as dogs, cats, and rabbits. Keeping a chicken requires knowledge about poultry handling, which most residents do not have. There is too much risk that chickens will suffer more if the by-law is repealed than they do already.
Introducing chickens into Vancouver’s unique urban environment will draw predators into the city, putting the chickens at risk from coyotes and raccoons. There is already a delicate balance which will likely be thrown off – meaning that chicken-keeping residents will end up asking the city to “deal with” the predators, likely lethally.
I also fear that some people will likely be keeping chickens for meat and butchering in their backyards.
It is important to keep in mind that most people will not be keeping chickens as pets, but rather as a food source – and animals kept as food sources are very often ill-treated. Will they be covered by the same laws that cover dogs and cats and rabbits, or will they be exempt from many humane laws as farm animals are?
The local SPCA does not have the resources to police the keeping of chickens, and I doubt the city has money in the budget to deal with checking on chicken-keeping households to make sure that animal welfare laws are being followed.
All of this means that most chickens will be kept in terrible conditions, possibly caged, with inadequate shelter and care, at risk from predators that they have not evolved to deal with.