For anyone following the chicken debate, we are still outlaws. Earlier in this year, the Licensing and Standards Committee in Toronto debated whether or not to read a prepared report on keeping urban chickens. They voted against reading it, which stopped the whole discussion in its tracks. It was quite a blow to all the chicken keepers here in the city that had real hope that they wouldn’t have to keep their flocks covertly to avoid prosecution and loss of their birds.
In March, Paul Hughes, a Calgary chicken keeper, went to court to argue that he should be allowed to keep his urban hens. The outline of his argument can be found here. Essentially, Mr.Hughes believes that a municipality shouldn’t be able to decide where we get our food from as protected under Canadian and international human rights laws.
The verdict was to be delivered last week, but as anything chicken-law related, it has also been delayed. Now we wait until September 14 of this year to find out. If Mr.Hughes is successful, his case may set precedence for the rest of us in Canada, making all of us outlaws, law-abiding citizens again. I guess we’ll have to find something else to rebel with if that happens. Backyard dairy cows? I’ll keep you posted.