Monday, November 13, 2006

Council OK with chickens in city

Associated Press

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- A city councilman drew guffaws and cackles by striding into the council chambers in a yellow chicken costume moments before the council discussed an ordinance that would allow residents to keep chickens within city limits.

Councilman Steve Volan's chicken suit led to a string of jokes before the serious business of chicken-keeping got under way Wednesday evening.

During the discussion, 21 audience members spoke in favor of allowing city residents to raise egg-laying chickens, and four spoke against it.

Volan joined the 5-1 council majority in voting to recommend the ordinance for final approval Wednesday. Three council members abstained from voting.

Lucille Bertuccio, president of the Center for Sustainable Living, said that when people grow their own food and raise their own chickens, they actually contribute to public health.
"When you buy eggs from factory farms, they contain antibiotics, pesticides, hormones. You should not be eating those eggs," Bertuccio said.

Opponents of chicken-keeping said they fear that neighbors with chickens would affect property values and threaten the public health.

"Poultry in city limits is not a good idea," said Bob Schmidt of the Monroe County Health Department, citing risks of salmonella contamination and illnesses.

The provision would charge residents a $25 fee for a chicken-keeping permit and restrict the number of chickens per coop to five, with one coop per property owner.