Ed Note: See bottom of letter for information about Facebook group supporting urban chickens in Castlegar.
I'm baffled by the arguments Castlegar City Council is using to prohibit backyard chickens in small numbers.
If the concerns really relate to noise, excrement, and attraction of pests - then why do we allow citizens to have dogs?
Dogs bark at all hours. The noise they make is much louder than that of a few hens clucking in their coop.
Dogs leave their doo-doo everywhere - thanks to their owners, who don't clean up after them. And doggy doo-doo is NOT good for fertilizer - chicken manure IS.
All kinds of varmints and bugs like to eat dog food when it's left outside.
So do bears and other predators. Some predatory animals also like to eat dogs. So dogs are definitely a pest attractant.
Chickens that are no longer wanted are good to eat. We don't eat dogs. Unwanted dogs end up dumped at the SPCA or worse.
Chickens are an asset to sustainability, producing eggs, meat, and manure that helps grow vegetables and fruit. Dogs could be described as a drain on sustainability in terms of the food they eat and the pollution they create.
Don't get me wrong - I really like dogs and don't begrudge them to anybody who wants to own one. I'm glad they're allowed in my city! I just don't understand the double standard City Council seems to want to cling to.
We have regulations intended to control dogs, including licensing, and we could easily put the regulations in place for chickens. No one is saying that wholesale "poultry farming" should be permitted within city limits. We are talking about small, reasonable numbers of chickens...maybe one per resident, as was allowed under the former by-law several years ago.
In terms of food security for our region, backyard chickens are a far better idea than water meters, which likely will end up penalizing those of us who are trying to grow our own vegetables and fruits for home consumption.
Despite a public process and heavily-signed petition against them, we are getting water meters whether we want them or not.
Since council has already changed its mind once about a public process on chickens, maybe it should change its mind again and give the public process a chance.
Ed Note: In related news, resident Mark Jennings has created a Facebook group called the Castlegar and Area Eco-society, posting this rationale, "I started this group in response to the total disregard for public process that our city council showed to the issue of backyard chicken. My feeling is love them or hate them any issue with high level of local intrests deserves debate in a public forum. This group is also about much more than chickens and is also meant to stir discussion about evironmental issues and social sustainability in Castlegar and nearby regions. Please post issues of local relvence and feel free to use the "Ask Questions" button to poll user about local environmental and social issues.to poll user about local environmental and social issues." To join the group, visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/252268141553876/