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Calgary Takes Chicken Owner to Court

Calgary Takes Chicken Owner to Court
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An intrepid urban chicken fan has taken on more than Calgary’s city hall. He has taken on Canada’s commitment to the right to food.

Paul Hughes is a veteran and single father who lives on a disability pension. He sees raising chickens as a constitutional right. So in 2009 he called city hall to report an illegal chicken coop. The coop was his.

He was acting in solidarity with a Calgary woman who had been fined for keeping three chickens in her backyard. Hughes considered the city’s ban on urban chickens a violation of Section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which states:

Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination…

Hughes insisted Calgary’s bylaw was unconstitutional because some Canadian cities allow urban chickens. He also asserted Article 25 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights was at issue:

Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

Next: The City Moves Against Hughes

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10:28PM PDT on Aug 11, 2012

Unless those chickens are being raised purely for their eggs, let him rot in prison. I have no sympathy for any backyard (or factory) animal killers.

8:15PM PDT on Jul 21, 2012

As long as there are also by-laws that cover the well being of the chickens and the conditions they are kept in I think it is a great idea. Obviously if some are kept in unhygenic conditions or crowded conditions these particular ones should not be allowed but that is something that the safeguard by-laws, as I said, should be able to deal with.

1:25AM PDT on Jul 21, 2012

Thanks for posting.

4:01AM PDT on Jul 20, 2012

I would not want my neighbour to have chickens.

9:44AM PDT on Jul 19, 2012

So Calgary bans chickens but approves of horse-killing/maiming chuckwagon races . . .

5:19AM PDT on Jul 19, 2012

Chickens require care and proper housing, otherwise they may cause health issues due to attracting mice and rats if their feed is not secured from rodents and also the excreta of the chickens may cause allergies and infections if cleanliness is not maintained. For these reasons, especially in crowded neighborhoods, a lot of municipalities ban the keeping of chickens.

3:53PM PDT on Jul 18, 2012


12:03PM PDT on Jul 18, 2012


11:50AM PDT on Jul 18, 2012

@Anita--well considering that bird droppings incorporate the feces (the dark matter), urates (the white part), and urine (which is clear and not to readily visible unless there is polyuria), I'm not sure how one would make too much of a distinction. It all comes out the bird's cloaca in one clump (same place as the eggs!). Chicken farmers aren't going to collect the guano and separate it into its component parts The whole bird dropping will smell just from the urine/urates portion.

I really see no issue with urban chickens provided that the poultry owners will keep the coops clean daily. Really, how is it any different than insuring you keep your dog clean? Also, a few hens are one thing, but roosters and their crowing is another.

10:11AM PDT on Jul 18, 2012

With all of the news concerning the "food supply/chain" in the US, and the fact that Monsanto Corp can "threaten" to sue a state and have the state back down on farming issues, it's time WE THE PEOPLE take back OUR responsibility for ourselves and our families health and welfare - cause the government could care less! LOL I'm lucky to be living out on 5 acres and have large and small animals - and am planning to build a coop and get chickens the end of summer (rather than pay $2-$4 for a dozen eggs in stores!) and will maintain the cleanliness of their area the same as I do for my cats, dogs, and burros! What concerns me is the government interference now on people choosing to plant gardens instead of lawns, or raising chickens or rabbits in their backyard area for food sources. I don't intend to depend on the government (federal, state or local!) to provide me with healthy food anymore. But growing my own assures me that I will KNOW what I'm eating is pesticide free and not contaminated with a myriad of chemicals. It's time for everyone to stand up and be heard - remember that YOUR taxes pay THEIR basically, they are working for YOU! LOL

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