Wednesday, May 05, 2010

You gotta fight for your right to keep chickens in Knoxville

A few months ago ck wrote about the growing interest to change city code to allow hens in Knoxville. Surprised? You shouldn’t be. This is a small step to creating sustainable urban systems and chickens are integral to helping provide healthy nutrition (by way of eggs) and a rich source of soil amendments (through litter composting). Somewhere way back in knoxville’s history (and probably most cities for that matter) a line was drawn to restrict “barnyard” animals from the city. But Knoxville isn't the pioneering the "hen revolution" (see Seattle, Portland (OR), San Francisco, Denver, Fort Collins, Madison, Cedar Falls, Asheville, and Porland (ME) who have all recently changed this archaic and discriminatory practice against chickens!)

Yes, for a long time we did have only horses to get around, and the sights and smells were far from pleasant (read the first chapter of Superfreakonomics if this piques your interest). Maybe chickens were kicked out because they precipitated the perception of backward, no-shoes, toothless Appalachian culture that city-folk wanted to shake. Or maybe it was because a mayor back in the day got attacked by a rooster as a kid. (note: the city code amendment does not allow roosters, only hens) Who knows? But small backyard animals in small numbers like chickens, when If you think about it though, with good housing and clean bedding, are not much different than our typical household pets. In fact, under the new guidelines, chickens would be more regulated than cats and dogs under current city code!

Here are the highlights of the proposed code amendment: 1) annual permit to keep chickens is $25 2) how many chickens you can keep depends on your lot size (starts at 6 hens) 3) you have to keep it clean and have a nice structure (with a $25 building permit) 4) eggs=yes, meat=no (put down your cleaver, ck)

So, my question is this, Knoxvillians- are you with me?

If yes

Send an email to the police chief, mayor, and city council and tell them in what neighborhood you live and that you support the code amendment.

If no (or yes)

Educate yourself more about urban chickens! Go see the movie Mad City Chickens this first Friday from 7-8:30 in the Old City at Remedy Coffee House located at 125 West Jackson Avenue in the Old City!

Knoxville Urban Hen Coalition is teaming up with Three Rivers Market and the Parkridge Community Garden to screen it as part of the effort to educate Knoxville on keeping hens in the city, and to build support for the Proposed Knoxville Ordinance.

Mad City Chickens is a sometimes serious, sometimes whimsical look at the people who keep urban hens in their backyards. From chicken experts and authors to a rescued landfill hen or an inexperienced family that decides to take the poultry plunge—and even a mad professor and giant hen taking to the streets—it’s a humorous and heartfelt trip through the world of backyard chickendom. The movie runs about 1 hour 15 minutes.

Donations will go to support the Parkridge Community Garden.


ck said...

No meat?! Law or no law, when one of my hens gives up the ghost, I ain't burying it in the back yard if you know what I mean.

Lo said...

true dat. another thing that you gotta think about is that if you get your chicks early enough, you won't know the sex until it grows up a little. whether you can determine if it's a rooster before it starts to crow, i don't know.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I'm in favor of chickens in the city, but a $25 annual fee?? That's just a little silly, unless we're also going to start taxing dogs and cats. My hens are my pets.

Unknown said...

Maybe they'll let you pay off the $25 in eggs?