Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Durham, NC, urban chickens efforts (update)

Back in late November 2007, I first reported on the grassroots efforts to legalize Urban Chickens in Durham, NC. It seems the wheels of administration move slowly, but here we are 14 months later and the City Council is now considering the proposal to make chickens legal.

Last month, the City Council work session took up the issue of chickens. As reported over on The Durham News, much of the session was taken up by administrivia, but then the Council members began reminiscing about their own experience with chickens as kids (back when chickens were raised in sufficient quantity for meat and eggs). See the story to read the exact exchange, but if you've ever spoken with someone who saw a chicken killed to prep for dinner, you've heard it before.

From what I can tell by following the urban chicken movement, no one gets their birds for meat: it's all about the eggs. This is why we're so keen to get hens, not roosters, and I think why any good urban chicken ordinance bans the keeping of roosters, like the ordinance in nearby Chapel Hill.

So, imagine my surprise this morning when I see over on the Bull City Rising blog the following account of what happened at the latest Council meeting (emphasis mine):
The vote on urban chickens is paused until February, as predicted -- but at least four City Council members, including the mayor, seem disinclined to support the proposal as it stands. Jim Wise noted Bill Bell and Howard Clement had objections in a previous work session, noting their own childhood experiences growing up near chickens. Clement added to the fray yesterday by expressing concern that the groups requesting the change weren't socioeconomically diverse, and that poorer neighborhoods might see the requested change as leading to more disorder in the city. Farad Ali and Eugene Brown also expressed concerns.
You should also read the comments of the blog post itself for more information and to see exactly how Clement expressed the concern.

Wow. This looks to be a tough battle in Durham.

How would you suggest they go about changing minds?

UPDATE: be sure to read this great guest column by Adrian Brown in support of chickens in Durham published on

1 comment:

Arthur in the Garden! said...

OH, I think every house should have a few hens to recycle the kitchen scraps into eggs. It also alow kids to connect what they eat at the dinner table with where it comes from.


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