Wednesday, July 23, 2008

chickens are like a gateway drug?

So, for the umpteenth time, I've just finished reading another online article/post describing the inherent bias against legalizing urban chickens as being based on precedence. The latest comes in a post over on Hispanic Trending, a blog dedicated to Latino Marketing & Advertising:
Councilman Linwood Mann said he has heard from many constituents who don't want chickens as neighbors. They worry, he said, that newcomers from rural areas of Latin America will bring in their own favorite farm animals.

"This is just one of many ordinances put on the book to help people trying to live in harmony," Mann said. "So far, it has worked very well."

Tony Asion, executive director of El Pueblo, a Latino advocacy group in Raleigh, was mystified.

"What in the world would make them think that all Latinos want to have chickens in their backyard?" Asion asked. "Here's the deal: It has nothing to do with culture. It has to do with where you came from. If you came from a rural area where you had animals in your back yard, that's what you're used to. The same is true in the United States. Maybe in rural Alabama they might have them, but not in Montgomery. I don't think this has anything to do with ethnicity."
These biases all seem run along the lines of "well, if we let chickens in here, pretty soon we'll have goats and pigs and horses and cows and..." Yes, hyperbole runs rampant, but I've heard this kind of reasoning before somewhere.

[Almost exactly a year ago (coincidentally?) I posted about a similar dust up in the DC suburbs reported by the Washington Post. And while there are parallels in the ethnic target, I'd rather not touch the not-so-subtly racist aspects of the arguments in this post.]

Oh yeah, the hyperbolic argument is the same argument that's used to discourage changing anything because of the slippery slope that we'd unknowlingly slide all the way down to the nasty worst-case bottom. Kinda like sex ed is the gateway to teen promiscuity. Or marijuana is the gateway to cocaine abuse. (or credit cards are the gateway to bankruptcy?)

I'd better watch out or soon I'll have a backyard full of promiscuous drug-addicted cattle in my backyard. How will I ever stop myself? ;^)


Linda said...

Certainly it's over the top to think of large, hooved animals living in every urban backyard, but is it wrong of me to envision a day when there are small "farms" IN the city? I know some cities are doing this with crops, but what's wrong with having a neighborhood dairy? Why do people want to be so distanced from their food? What's wrong with seeing the animals that provide you with food living out their lives nearby? I guess I am finding myself on a slippery slope here, eh? I look at the weedy, brushy slopes lining the commuter rail embankments and the expressways and think: why not graze a few goats there? Uh oh...I better seek out some help!

Kateri said...

I love it! The many reasons city council comes up for not allowing chickens! two of my favorites here in Ann Arbor were: "We didn't allow people to have poisonous snakes when they asked, so why should we cater to the people who want chickens?" and "There is no reason to allow chickens, people can always go to the farmer's market and buy fresh eggs."

Statements like that and the one in your post just leave me shaking my head.

Kathi D said...

Oh yes, it's a problem. I started with chickens and now I have buffalo.

Bad Wolf said...

I had a roommate who had a couple tropical birds (jungle! next there will be jaguars...) and not only were they allowed inside, they were hands down messier and way noisier than the entire flock of 40 girls I've been privileged to know.

It's long been a decisive tactic to characterize the opponent in a defensive maneuver when there's no good reason for objections (take a look at how vegetarians get treated by omnivores). I guess when it gets offensive that's actually a good sign that one is at least winning the logical part of the battle, if not the political.

The movie "Stupidity" called it "Resisting Intelligence" which is an apt description of the phenomena. Apparently, to hold on to their perceived comfort zone people adapt the "ignorance is bliss" wisdom to the situation which in this case is that "status quo" is worry- and work-free. Resisting Intelligence also explains why so few know much about the food they consume day in and day out. RI gets used to market to us as well. We are gullible... often by choice.

Anyway, also wanted to post about the upcoming Tour de Coops event in Portland, Oregon (as a benefit for Growing Gardens which helps secure organic food -- including urban chickens -- for low income residents) this weekend. Apparently it's not racist there but perhaps more a "hippie-dippie" (nod to Carlin) thing. Here comes the Tie-Dye!

Emily Cole said...

"I'll have a backyard full of promiscuous drug-addicted cattle in my backyard." you could add "that I bought with my credit cards" Ha ha!


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