Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sarasota chickens: Facing a double standard?

One of the things that frustrates backyard chicken advocates is the double standard applied to keeping a few hens compared with more typical pets such as dogs and cats. Some critics insist on treating backyard hens as livestock that must justify their existence based on a cost/benefit basis. We've written about this phenomenon before and pointed out that no one expects Rex or Mr. Bigglesworth to clear a comparable bar.

Now the New York Times has come forward with some eyebrow-raising figures from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. According to the ASPCA, a large dog requires $560 in first-year set-up costs and $875 each year thereafter for food, medical expenses, toys and " a few related expenses". Cats are somewhat more affordable according to the ASPCA -- first year costs of $365 and $670 a year thereafter.

Let's just accept the fact that most pets are expensive, even if the ASPCA figures seem inflated. People get pets for multiple and complex reasons and expecting any pet to be some sort of profit center misses the point.

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