Eckville council rejects proposed domestic animal bylaw

The classifying of chickens as “livestock” raised concerns with urban hen owners in town

The proposed Domestic Animal Control Bylaw was shut down by Eckville council on Monday night.

The proposed bylaw, which was set to receive its third and final reading on June 8, was moved to terminate any further action with only one vote against.

Members of council felt the bylaw should not proceed until conversations with the public can be held.

After a public notice was sent out to town residents for comment after the first two readings spurred concerns regarding urban, or backyard, hens being prohibited under the proposed bylaw.

Council received four letters from local residents as well as a call from the Canadian Liberated Urban Chicken Klub expressing concerns around the potential inability to keep hens in town.

READ MORE: CLUCK Canada opposes Eckville’s proposed Domestic Animal Control Bylaw

“They provide us with food in the form of eggs, disposal in the form of feeding kitchen scraps, fertilizer for our garden along with hour upon hours of enjoyment of entertainment,” reads one letter.

Another letter states the proposed bylaw’s definition of “livestock” that includes chickens differs from the definition of “livestock” under Canadian law and the Encyclopedia Britannica.

“Urban small-scale chicken farming is a way to enhance urban agriculture, increase food security and provide greater access to local food,” says the letter, adding the chickens provide increased options for sustainability as well as pest control.

A third letter says the chickens help give “back to the earth” and help in light of food shortages.

Each letter says their hens, one owner having as many as six laying hen, are at no impact to surrounding neighbours.

The council package on June 8 included examples of various chicken and urban hen bylaws in the even Eckville choose to adapt a possible Urban Hen Bylaw in the future.

In addition to nixing the proposed bylaw, council made a motion to have administration look further into the possibility of creating a bylaw which would permit the keeping of urban chickens or urban hens in the town.

The findings will be presented at the July 13 regular meeting of council.

Eckville

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