Their big beef? Too many roosters (which remain illegal in the majority of places where urban chickens are legal) are winding up at sanctuaries, overwhelming the resources of said sanctuaries.
I can't argue with their concern about the roosters, but I can, and will, argue about their proposal to remedy the situation by taking away the rights of anyone to keep chickens in their backyards. They seem think that if urban chickens are illegal, it will dry up the demand for chickens and solve the problem of abandoned roosters.
We've seen this movie before in America's so-called War on Drugs, haven't we? By making drugs illegal, the problem magically solved itself, right?
And the coalition's Position Statement on Backyard Poultry (beware: it downloads a PDF) reads like a well-meaning but ultimately feeble attempt at singling out urban backyard flocks as the cause of poultry raising ills. My scan of their list of concerns brings the following alternatives to mind:
- If, as they say, there are no legal requirements dictating how breeding hens and roosters are kept, let's change the laws to require humane treatment (as is required of the egg-layers)
- If, as they say, shipping day-old chicks is cruel, let's figure out a better way to get chickens from the breeders to the customers
- If, as they say, sexing chicks is such a problem that "between 20-50% of purchased 'hens" are actually roosters," let's figure out how to sex chicks better
- If, as they say, professional medical care for urban chickens is lacking, let's educate our veterinarians
While I'm in favor of the service these sanctuaries provide, I'm dumb-founded as to their backward thinking on how to solve the issue of unwanted roosters. Shame on them for their tactics.
It's a pity this is how they have to behave to get attention. I'll follow up later this week with more about the coalition and how you can support their efforts to provide sanctuary for unwanted birds despite their bungling the call to ban urban chickens.
Photo credit: hghwtr on Flickr