Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Chicken City

Round Three of the Great Appleton Chicken Fight is on tap tonight.  The City Council will vote for a third time on allowing people to raise a select number of hens in their backyards.  It's the latest in a trend that is seeing the city look more like "the country"--while the "the country" is made to be more like the city.

Those pushing for urban chicken keeping are the same folks vehemently opposed to large scale agricultural operations.  Better to have coops in every backyard in Appleton than to have one facility isolated from most all other people raising chickens and harvesting eggs.  That type of operation is "cruel" and "environmentally insensitive"--even though it keeps the price of eggs (and most of our processed food products) incredibly low.  And it allows millions more people to eat those foods than the 'sustainable' urban chicken keeper ever could.

These are also the same folks who want "community gardens" in urban neighborhoods so people can grow their own vegetables and fruits--while protesting the well permits for rural farms that grow billions of potatoes, beans and bushels of corn that feed not just Americans--but those living around the world.  They are also the ones that when they move to rural areas, want dairy farms shut down because they "stink".  Or they crusade against large-scale operations that produce more milk and dairy products than the entire "family farm" system could have ever hoped to--again, keeping food prices down and allowing billions more people around the world to eat.

And these are the people that want urban beekeeping to pollinate their flowers and community gardens--but who oppose development of new strains of plants that are drought and disease resistant, that produce higher yields and can grow in areas that were considered untillable in the past.  Not to mention, genetically modified crops can be developed to combat weeds and pests--meaning less use of chemicals that may be killing off their beloved bees.  But they would rather we return to a time when blight and pestilence were constant threats to our food supplies.

 There is a reason why cities had bans on chickens and bees and ducks in your yard.  It wasn't like city council members of the past woke up one day and said "I don't like having farm animals in the city--let's ban them".  But that was so long ago, that we have forgotten why they were banned in the first place--and why we don't have farms in the middle of cities. 

It's not like the State of Wisconsin or the United States as a whole doesn't have plenty of places where you can raise chickens and bees or have ducks as "emotional support animals".  Zoning laws in townships just a few miles away are set up specifically for such a way of living.  Yes, they don't have walking trails, bike paths or public transportation out there--but you can't always get everything you want.

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