Kudos to City Council for overturning last week's planning committee decision and directing staff to study urban chickens before drawing a conclusion about whether the ban on keeping chickens within city limits should remain in place.
At its January 12, 2012 meeting, the Planning Committee rejected a proposal to have staff investigate the implications of allowing backyard chickens on the grounds that "at the end of the day, we're just going to shut it down anyway," as Councillor Lloyd Ferguson put it.
As a result, Hamilton resident Teresa Gregario launched an online petition calling on Council to change its mind and take a more evidence-based approach. As of this writing, the petition has 544 signatories.
Supporters argue that backyard chickens pose no more risk to public health than cats or dogs and that hens are considerably quieter than dogs. On the other hand, backyard chickens allow for local food, greater self-sufficiency and the opportunity for children to learn where their food comes from.
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