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Say no to backyard chickens

This petition had 1,758 supporters


City councillors introduced a motion for a pilot project for allowing backyard hens in Toronto. Toronto City Council will vote on the motion on October 2, 3 and 4 when they return to Chambers.

The signatories of this petition strongly oppose this motion. Allowing backyard chickens for egg laying purposes, perpetuates the humane myth that there is a right way to exploit animals.

  • For every egg laying hen a male chick was killed shortly after birth at the hatchery usually by grinding them alive or suffocating.
  • Hens start laying eggs after about 5 months; however, production wanes around fifteen months to two years. Many backyard hen keepers are reluctant to keep non-productive hens. They are often either abandoned or taken to open markets north of Toronto to be killed by the purchaser, or sold for one dollar soup, or even sometimes killed at their homes. Their natural life expectancy is well over a decade.
  • About 10 percent said they had killed their birds for food in the past year.”
  • Who would think it acceptable to mail day old chicks to backyard chicken purchases. Yet, Canada Post offer this service, from 1st March to 31st October as do courier companies. The chicks face possibilities of suffocation, starvation, impacts of extreme heat and cold, and physical injury. 
  • Hatcheries that sell chicks via mail cannot perfectly sex males, so there is a 5 percent chance they will end up sending roosters who end up crowing and therefore unwanted due to 'noise' and their inability to lay eggs. Municipal ordinances prohibit roosters so they end up being surrounded to a shelter, abandoned or killed.
  • Also, roosters (male chickens) are often used as 'packaging material'.
  • Backyard hens come from the same place as chickens sent to slaughter, so those supporting this practise also support the cruel and unnecessary animal agriculture industry. 
  • In nature, birds produce 20 or so eggs a year, only in the spring. Chickens bred to lay almost daily eggs suffer from the fallout of this genetic selection, including calcium depletion.
  • In nature, when chickens lay eggs, they eat the shells to replenish their calcium; that rarely happens with backyard chickens exploited for their eggs as often the eggs are sold). 
  • In Vancouver, where backyard chickens are allowed, the Vancouver SPCA and Animal Services state on their websites that they have no space for the chickens so it is logical to assume that Animal Services in Toronto would also be unable to provide shelter to the inevitable increase in abandoned chickens. 
  • There’s a danger of a salmonella outbreak from backyard chickens. In the US in 2017, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a multi-state outbreak of 8 different types of Salmonella bacteria linked to backyard chickens. As of May 25, 2017, 372 people were infected with 71 hospitalized. Of the 372, 36% were children under 5 years of age.
  • There is also a danger of predator attacks, leading to horrendous suffering and death of backyard chickens.





  • Toronto City Council should keep chickens on the Prohibited Animal List, other than rescue chickens, which should be licenced (similar to cats and dogs), and cared for in accordance with the Core Principles of the Microsanctuary Movement.
  • People who illegally have chickens should hand them over to Toronto Animal Services
  • Toronto Animal Services should work with animal rescue groups to find sanctuaries for the chickens
  • The federal government should ban hatcheries and Canada Post from sending chicks in the mail and using male chicks as “packing material”. According to the Canada Post website, chicks can be mailed from March 1 to October 31.
  • Toronto should ban backyard chicken slaughter in the city
  • Teach children where “food” comes from by bringing them to a slaughterhouse. Join the weekly Toronto Chicken Save vigils (Thursdays, 7:30 – 10 pm) at Maple Leaf Poultry at 100 Ethel Avenue in Toronto. Everyone in the city has a duty to bear witness.
  • The City of Toronto ought to be a Compassionate City and introduce healthy and green initiatives like promoting vegetable gardens, community gardens, massive tree planting and fruit trees. Global warming puts present and future generations at risk and a shift to a vegan diet is necessary as part of any solution to solving the greatest environmental threat facing the planet.
  • The City of Toronto needs to have labeling and information campaigns showing how eating the eggs and flesh of chickens is unnecessary and unhealthy.

What you can do…

• Go vegan

• Bear witness at Toronto’s chicken slaughterhouse Maple Leaf Poultry with Toronto Chicken Save 

• Write your City Councillor:

Address postal inquiries to:
Animal Alliance of Canada
221 Broadview Avenue, Suite 101
Toronto, ON M4M 2G3


Compassionate Cities campaign (to be launched in August)

Liz White 2011 and 2017 deputations to City Hall

Simone Reyes anti-mail campaign

United Poultry Concerns


Toronto Chicken Save , part of The Save Movement

Direct Action Everywhere


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