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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