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Charges fly the coop

Charges levied against a Calgary food activist for raising chickens in his backyard have been dropped by the city — and now the two parties may be hopping into the same henhouse.

Charges levied against a Calgary food activist for raising chickens in his backyard have been dropped by the city — and now the two parties may be hopping into the same henhouse.

Paul Hughes, president of the Calgary Liberated Urban Chicken Klub (CLUCK), was given a ticket for illegally keeping poultry earlier this year, but on Thursday received a notice from the city that they are dropping the charges.

“I think this is great news for not just people raising chickens, but for the city as a whole. I think it’s a shared victory,” Hughes said, adding charges were also dropped against another Calgarian for raising chickens.

“I’m really excited for the city and proud to be a part of it.”

Not only were charges against Hughes dropped, but Animal and Bylaw Services director Bill Bruce confirmed the city is working on a pilot project with Hughes allowing 40 families to raise chickens in their backyards.

“We’re open-minded and able to react to changing city needs,” Bruce said of the plan.

“We need to see if this works and the best way to do that is to try it out. Until we do that, we won’t really know if it works or not. Let’s see what Calgarians want.”

Hughes is excited about the pilot project he believes will propel the city to the forefront of agriculture and local food systems.