Wednesday, June 29, 2011

CLUCK NEWS: Port St. Lucie Says No to Backyard Hens

After a whirlwind three month campaign, an east coast CLUCK group was handed a 4-0 defeat when the Port St. Lucie city commission voted to not change the city's laws regarding backyard chickens. Many of the arguments used against chickens were the same tired assumptions and sketchy accusations that were heard in Sarasota, among them that a few hens would cause a perceptible rise in backyard predators. 

Four hens won't support a raccoon army for very long, whereas chicken tenders can be relied upon to vigilantly confront omnivorous nighttime scavengers in a manner unfamiliar to those who provide a veritable cornucopia of food by feeding pets outdoors, stocking bird feeders, having fruit trees, and being casual composters. Our guess is there would be fewer nighttime raiders if everyone had a few hens they were guarding.
According to a column by Anthony Westbury, organized opposition from realtors and the Chamber of Commerce tipped the balance against backyard birds. Westbury noted that Sarasota's successful campaign took six times longer. Neither the Sarasota Chamber nor Realtor organizations took formal positions in Sarasota. While some Sarasota citizens cited real estate fears, these were countered by statements from some realtors that any effect would be too small to measure and citizens stating they would be more likely to buy a home if chickens were allowed. 

CLUCK organizer Brenda Richardson says she is not giving up and will be back with a new strategy.

Photo of Lovieda LaPlant from the Palm Beach Post

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