Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Surfacing Indiana's urban chicken underground

Got a nice note from John over at the Garden Coop this morning alerting me to a story on IndyStar.com about Lafayette's chicken underground.

One of Gay-Ellen Stulp's (illegal) chickens escaped her yard in Lafayette, IN (pop ~ 57,000) earlier this year, and after a neighbor reported the renegade hen to authorities, Stulp was forced to relocate her hens to a farm outside the city.

While a law in 1971 allowed chickens in the city so long as they were quiet, a later ordinance was passed lumping chickens in with the rest of the barnyard animals that were banned from the city.

Stulp has collected over 200 signatures in support of changing the law to allow citizens to keep chickens in the city. Associate professor Mickey Latour of the Purdue University poultry extension office is going to be present at the meeting where the chicken issue will be discussed.

We can only hope Latour will help cooler, rational heads prevail and Stulp can bring her chickens home where they belong: in the city with all the other cats and dogs that are already welcome around town.

Oh, and just to give you a sense of how much attention's being paid to this issue, there've been over 65 comments left on the IndyStar.com article since 8am this morning. Thankfully, the comments left later in the day seem to be thoughtful, reasoned reactions to the article and not the shrill drivel that so often appear shortly after urban chicken articles are posted what with their usual "rodents! smell! bird flu! oh, my!" tone.


S Vandemore said...

When it comes down to it, it's not about chickens in your backyard -- it's about our freedoms and our right to live the way we choose without other people's, or the government's, interference. I believe that's at the core of this debate and why it is so heated at times. The chicken, as usual, is caught in the middle. :)

Patriot Missive said...

When people are afraid of recycled manure on their gardens and gathering fresh eggs, it is clear why we, as a country, do not understand sustainability and green pest control.

My hens are sustainable and infinitely entertaining. Some of my neighbors have been delighted to see them running around with small snakes writhing in their beaks before they eat them.

I live in a gated upscale suburb where people who do not understand chickens live in utter fear that someone will own chickens somewhere within a hundred miles of them, while those who do understand flowers, vegitables, sustainability, and organic eggs, as well as green pest control, are delighted to have me as a neighbor and a covert hen owner.


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