On July 23, CBCNews ran a story on an urban chickens experiment in Charletotetown, PEI (pop ~32,000).
The Biggley family started raising a dozen chickens in their yard on Prince Edward Island, even though the bylaws of Charlottetown forbid raising livestock, and the mayor has decided to take a wait-and-see approach to the situation instead of the more typical cease-and-desist. According to the CBC, the mayor said "the city might have to act if it was a commercial operation, or if there were complaints from neighbours. None of the neighbours CBC News talked to has a problem with the hens."
What a refreshing municipal approach to urban chickens: experiment with allowing the real thing rather than allowing the naysayers and naifs fight for the status quo with misinformation.
If you want to see the kind of hysterics the urban chicken movement is up against, simply read a couple pages of the comments associated with the CBCnews article. The anti-chicken crew are pulling out all the usual arguments: smell, mess, rodents, gateway to bigger livestock. The usual.
There's one particular commenter, Trish A, who I think embodies the archetypal anti-chicken person. She ascribes all kinds of motivations to the Biggley family that simply aren't true. Luckily, the Biggleys are there on the board to refute Trish's claims.
If you're thinking of taking up the cause to change the laws in your own town to allow urban chickens, you'd do well to read through the entire comment thread if only to get a preview of the kind of fear you might have to contend with if you have a Trish-like person in your town.
What would you say to calm down someone like Trish?