Urban chickens just won’t fly in Calgary after a city committee clipped the wings of a proposed pilot project before it could take flight.
Poultry activists Paul Hughes and Mary March vowed to continue illegally cooping their chickens after the committee voted 5-2 yesterday against a pilot program that would have allowed urban farm families to keep their egg-producing hens for one year.
“They can say whatever they want, but I have a right to feed my children. I’m keeping my chickens,” March said with two chickens in tow on the steps of city hall.
Bill Bruce from city Bylaw Services spoke to the committee about the pilot project, but said he now must serve 30-day notices to chicken owners, forcing them to find new homes for the fowl.
“They knew from the start that was a possibility,” Bruce said of charges stayed against Hughes and March that will now be continued.
But Hughes is determined to take his fight to court. He said he believes the right to feed his family trumps the city’s right to ban chickens from Calgary.
Aldermen at the meeting said they had trouble supporting something they believe most of the city doesn’t want.
Only Joe Ceci and Bob Hawkesworth endorsed the pilot program.
Opponents of the program were animated in their resistance, including nurse Mary MacDonald, who was worried about diseases from the chickens.
“I’m so happy, and surprised more people weren’t out to oppose coops in their neighbour’s backyard,” she said.