It is worth reflecting upon the fact that CLUCK is proposing backyard chickens that would have limited contact with humans, while dogs and cats are typically brought into the home and cats are typically encouraged to defecate in the home -- a fact that looks a little strange in print, but is nonetheless true. Cat litter that contains the Toxoplasmosis parasite poses a serious threat to unborn children. CLUCK is not arguing against keeping dogs and cats as pets, rather we are pointing out that all pets pose health risks and we find ways of dealing with those risks that do not involve prohibiting the keeping of those species.
Bottom line: If we were allowing people to have pets based on the risk of disease transmission to humans, cats and dogs (with similar mammalian systems) would be near the end of the list. Chickens would presumably be somewhere near the top (after chia pets, sea monkeys, and pet rocks?).
But lower risk is not no risk and CLUCK supports proper sanitation for both the health of the chickens, chicken keepers, and neighbors. Young children and people with compromised immune systems are at the greatest risk. Handwashing after contact with animals is now a common protocol for all animals.
CLUCK appreciates the concern regarding public health, but after reviewing CDC material and other sources, concludes that the health risks associated with backyard chickens are both manageable and less than the risks posed by more common pets.