Monday, November 9, 2009

Iowa City Mayor Bailey's Odd Anti-Chicken Concerns

In today's USA Today paper, there's a half-page feature article about urban chickens. In the print version of the paper, the story takes up the whole above-the-fold section of page 6D and includes a list of communities that we know have changed local laws to allow for urban chicken farming: Durham, NC; Portland, ME; Camden, ME; Huntington, NY; Lawrence, KS; and Longmont, CO. Great to see all these smart cities doing the right thing!

Unfortunately, in what I'm hoping was a quest for "a balanced look at the issue," the author provided even more airtime for Iowa City Mayor Regenia Bailey and her peculiar concerns about urban chickens:
Iowa City Mayor Regenia Bailey opposes efforts to allow backyard chickens in her community. One concern: University students often leave pets behind, she says, and the city – home to the University of Iowa – would need to develop facilities to shelter abandoned chickens.
Another problem: Small Midwestern farmers are increasingly trying to raise a diversity of organic produce beyond corn, oats and soybeans. But that movement faces an uphill battle, Bailey says, when locals who are passionate about high-quality eggs bypass their local farmers.
"We have a lot of small farmers around here making chickens and eggs available for sale," Bailey says. "My fundamental question is: Why aren't we supporting the regional economy?"
I'd love to see the data that Bailey's consulting in order to form her opinion that she needs to create abandoned chicken shelters. If I'm lucky, it'll be the same data set that's showing backyard chicken owners will be putting small Midwestern farmers out of the organic produce business.

How about it Mayor Bailey? Care to share what's informing your concerns? Or is it just more smoke-and-mirrors in City Hall?

Photo credit gingerjess on Flickr


badgerpendous said...

Wow. I wonder: is there something nefarious going on, or does she honestly believe this stuff?

Either way, Yike!

In other, more positive news, we now have a third urban chicken-raising house on our street!

Carolyn Evans-Dean said...

Politicians will say absolutely nothing in an attempt to say something!

eyecontact said...

Not sure what the solution is, but it's a start to hear and try to address these concerns. I guess to justify raising backyard hens we have to present the eggs to Wal-Mart for resale? (I just saw the 'Food,Inc' film. Scary.)

Unknown said...

Oh Iowa City! We're so sorry for you over here in Cedar Rapids! Your mayor is delusional! Check out the CR CLUC group on facebook. Our quest to gain approval from the city of CR to have backyard hens is gaining momentum! :)


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