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Updated: 10/23/2013 08:00:03AM

The trouble with chickens: Part Three

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Nicolas Smith

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City commissioners recently agreed to study relaxation of city ordinances regulating animal husbandry and truck farming within city limits. This third article discusses the moral benefits, social costs, and public health consequences.

There is no question that growing vegetables and raising animals has immediate benefits to those who consume fresh organic food. This is a growing trend. The problems come from improper cleaning and slaughtering, and the mishandling of animal waste. When mistakes are confined to a family farm, the public impact is minimal unless the farm sells commercial vegetables, like Colorado with 33 deaths. The fundamental issue here is whether grandma should be allowed to raise chickens in town, in order to feed herself. While I could have a lengthy discussion how this proposal confirms the horrid condition of our social safety net for the poor and elderly, that discussion is for another time. If someone could guarantee that no one would get sick or die from disease or confrontation, I would support this effort. If someone could guarantee that we won’t find a poisoned coyote in Kiwanis Park with a pile of vultures spreading contaminated meat everywhere, I would support this effort. If someone could guarantee that the taxpayers will not suffer expense and our public workers not suffer harm, I would support this effort. But as we know, there are no guarantees in life.

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