Amend City of Ottawa Bylaw #2003-77

Amend City of Ottawa Bylaw #2003-77

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Brenda Thompson started this petition to City of Ottawa

I am petitioning for the The City of Ottawa to make changes to bylaw Section 74 (1) which prohibits residents to keep chickens in their backyards, where their homes are not located in the designated zones for doing so. The specific zoning conditions which must be met are unnecessarily prohibitive, and prevent most residents from keeping chickens. We ask that you review these conditions, under the pretense that a) these bylaws are prohibitive, without reasonable cause; and b) under the current circumstances, because of COVID-19, it is especially relevant that these bylaws be reviewed.

Some common concerns about the keeping of chickens are similar to those for pets. With this noted, the current bylaws regarding the keeping of chickens are prohibitive without reasonable cause. For example, concerns about noise; hens produce little to no noise, especially when compared to the noise produced by an average household dog. Concerns about animal welfare; these are not very different from those of other household pets. Some differences may include the provision of space to nest and space to roam, and perhaps specific bylaws regarding the slaughter of chickens.

To be clear, if co-current bylaws are created to enforce the humane and responsible keeping of chickens, then there is no reasonable cause to justify restricting residents from keeping chickens. Other specific bylaws that should be developed to enforce responsible chicken keeping include:

·      Enforcing a limit on the number of chickens allowed

·      Prohibiting the keeping of roosters

·      Enforcing guidelines similar to those for pets (guidelines for basic care and waste disposal)

·      Enforce restrictions on coop size

·      Prohibit the sale of the eggs

The proper development and regulation of these bylaws will mitigate or eliminate these concerns. With the concerns surrounding the keeping of chickens addressed, it is equally important to consider the benefits of keeping chickens. Some of the benefits of keeping chickens include:

·      Ensuring the availability and accessibility of certain kitchen staples, especially during times of economic hardship

·      Limiting residents’ time spent in grocery stores (most relevant to the current COVID-19 pandemic)

·      Encouraging a local, community-based approach to food production, which can encourage residents (even those who do not own chickens) to seek out local farms for their food

·      Implementing an “avoid, reduce, reuse, recycle, recover, and dispose” methodology, which can reduce the environmental footprint of participating households

·      Encouraging local composting and reuse of organic material

·      Controlling the tick, grub and mosquito population without the use of products which may damage local biodiversity, or threaten the safety of pets and children

I highly encourage The City of Ottawa to review these antiquated bylaws, along with the benefits of doing so, and reconsider allowing the keeping of backyard chickens.

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