Why urban farming of chickens should not be permitted
I am writing this article in connection with the upcoming Richmond City Council meeting to be held April 8th at 6:30 PM concerning the resolution to allow raising chickens in the city. I would like to inform the public, I am not against chickens, only the abuse they suffer and the harm that comes to them if this resolution is passed.
This resolution must soundly be defeated for the following reasons:
First there is the health issue. Diseases can be spread from the fecal matter of chickens. There is also the odor problem if such matter is not cleaned up in time. Also this fecal matter could drain into nearby streams and other waterways, contaminating them and making them possibly unfit for human use.
Then there is the problem of various predatory animals raiding the chicken coops. There are two types--ground animals and winged species. The ground animals (which could dig their way into the coops) include foxes, dogs, rats, coyotes, cats, raccoons (these animals do not give up easily and one person said he could not stop the raccoons from getting into his trash barrels no matter what he did)and weasels, another very determined animal. Also you have the problem with rats, which could soon advance from the coups to your home. Among the winged species you have hawks, buzzards, eagles and owls. Some of these birds are quite large and have tremendous strength not only to seize their prey but to do damage to the top and sides of the coups. With the incidence of rabies occurring more frequently we do not want to draw these animals closer to our homes, particularly raccoons, foxes and coyotes.
Since the sex of the chicken cannot be determined at birth and maybe up to several weeks or months, you take a gamble on getting hens instead of roosters. Up to 20%-50% of purchased "hens" turn out to be roosters. Then the unfortunate roosters have to be disposed of burdening the few sanctuaries and rescue groups to care for them or find homes. The chicks are shipped as early as one day old, presenting health problems of survival in cold temperatures. Also hatcheries may use the rooster chicks as packing material regardless of whether or not they were ordered. Male chickens are particularly not wanted for two reasons--they don't produce eggs and are generally illegal in many areas.
The average owner of chickens is ill equipped to properly stun and kill a chicken. Furthermore chicken slaughtering can be traumatic to nearby residents and particularly young children. If chickens are permitted in urban areas they must be protected from cruel treatment including a ban on slaughtering them for consumption
A very important fact to remember there are very few avian veterinarians available to treat chickens
And one must consider the expense the City would have to pay in removing uneaten carcasses of chickens and those hit by cars. In today's money tight environment, one thing that is not necessary is increased taxes to pay for these problems.
For these reasons I oppose urban farming of chickens coming to Richmond and hope this resolution is defeated.