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Calgary Takes Chicken Owner to Court

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The city gave Hughes two warnings and then served him with notice of a bylaw infraction. The founder of CLUCK (Canadian Liberated Urban Chicken Klub), refused to budge. On March 2, 2010, he told The Calgary Journal, “As an urban farmer feeding my child I’m considered an outlaw and a criminal by my city, and that’s fundamentally wrong.”

Four months later the city upped the ante and issued Hughes a court summons. By that time the city had turned down a proposal from its bylaw department to try a poultry pilot project that could be monitored and assessed before becoming city wide. Hughes told The Calgary Sun he was planning to ignore the $200 fine and take his case to court.

He had a chance to do that this spring. Provincial court judge Catherine Skene heard the case and told Hughes she would give her decision in September. People in Canadian cities with bans against urban hens will be watching the decision to see if it moves their cause forward or sets it back.

During the years this case has been simmering, dozens of municipalities around North America have approved bylaws that allow backyard hens (not roosters). Others have turned down similar proposals.

The arguments pro and con include food security, animal welfare, predators, noise and sanitation, but that is a story for the next post.


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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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