Backyard chickens guidelines available for comment

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Backyard chickens guidelines available for comment

Read and comment on the draft guidelines for keeping backyard hens in Vancouver

Read and comment on the draft guidelines for keeping backyard hens in Vancouver

The Vancouver city staff has released the draft recommendations for the keeping of backyard hens. The Vancouver Food Policy Council has been working with the staff (and appears to fully endorse the keeping of hens as a food source – but only for eggs). The draft guidelines do not allow for backyard slaughter.

I do not like the idea of allowing the keeping of backyard hens (even though I’ll probably end up with a rescued hen or 2 living in my backyard) because there are so many problems with abandoned and mistreated pets already. But, these guidelines are really quite good, for what they are. One of the highlights is that chicks under 4 months of age are not allowed.

Roosters will not be allowed due to potential noise issues, which of course means that for every hen purchased one rooster will be killed (50% of chicks are male, just like people). If you buy a hen, you’ve also sent her brother to be ground up or gassed. That’s an unavoidable fact. I asked Heather Havens (the backyard chicken expert) about that during one of her talks and she confirmed that there is no one who sells hens who does not kill the males who are born.

As a side note, the chickens that people eat are slaughtered at 6 weeks old. Still babies. Isn’t that awful?

Download and read through the guidelines, then send your comments to city staff.

Strangely, the only email listed for feedback on the city’s page about chickens is the email for the food policy council, but they are adamantly in favor of allowing backyard chickens. What will they do with emails expressing opposing views? Will they just disappear? Who is going to read them and pass them on to staff or council?

Since, like so many other areas of our city’s government, there is a real lack of transparency around decision-making, I’d also suggest sending your comments directly to the city council members. Their contact info can all be found on the city website.  The deadline for comments is October 21st.

Even if you don’t have a comment about the draft guidelines, you could still let them know that chickens deserve better than to be treated as food sources. They are not disposable egg machines, and we do not better ourselves as a society by leaving decisions about care and treatment of animals to a “food policy council.”


2 Comments

Nicole

October 16, 2009 at 10:29 pm

This is so, so, so wrong! I have been absolutely against this from the beginning and I will definitely let the council know what I have to say about it.
Aside from the obvious ethical and animal rights issues of this issue, having lived with many birds and cared for very sick and disabled birds I am extremely concerned about the health and welfare of chickens in the hands of people who know nothing about bird physiology and psychology. If the birds they keep become ill, who is to keep these people in check to make sure the birds get the care they need? No one. Who will make sure they’re not abused? Hardly anyone. Who will give a damn about what the birds need to live according to their own needs and not according to human self-serving interests? Not a single one of the people who exploit these birds and their bodies.
The keeping of backyard chickens is nothing more than a fad. And when people get tired of the responsibility they owe to those birds, the birds will pay the biggest, saddest, most painful price of all.

Becci

October 21, 2009 at 1:27 pm

asked Heather Havens (the backyard chicken expert) about that during one of her talks and she confirmed that there is no one who sells hens who does not kill the males who are born.

Not surprising, but definitely a major reason why the keeping of backyard chickens is laden with ethical problems.

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