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Friday, August 12, 2011

Open Letter re Backyard Chickens in London, Ontario

Friday, August 5, 2011
Chair and Members
Community and Neighbourhoods Committee
The Corporation of the City of London

Re: Regulating the keeping of backyard laying hens.


The Animal Care and Control bylaw was changed under former Mayor Tom Gosnell in 1992/93 as part of the land annexation process.

Banning poultry that produce fresh eggs does nothing to promote ideas of self-reliance in uncertain economic times.

Rare Breeds Canada has expressed interest in working with parties in satisfaction of their mandate to inform and educate.

Randy Corey of the Trails End Small Animal Auction has expressed willingness to fulfill the role of a poultry supplier whom one can return poultry too if necessary.


That London City Council give authentic consideration to the following items when either changing the bylaws to allow for keeping backyard laying hens within city limits or establishing a 'pilot project' within city limits.

1. Approval for keeping laying hens from a majority of property owners who abut a subject property. Property owners giving permission should be in residence at ground level and the party requesting
approval should be counted as one vote 'for'.

2. No Roosters.

3. Laying hens should be purchased from local Canadian suppliers at an age (usually 5 months) when the gender of the animal can be easily determined by a person competent to do so.

4. Coops, runs and animal husbandry practices should be appropriate for the humane and sanitary housing of laying hens and the health of the guardian while respecting the rights of neighbours to
enjoyment of private property.

5. Laying hens be limited to 6 in number where space allows with eggs being used for personal consumption.

6. Any immediate change to bylaws or the implementation of a pilot program should be scheduled for an autumn/fall season.

7. Suspend 'anonymous' complaints to bylaw enforcement for a period of 12 months in case of immediate change of bylaw or for the duration of any pilot study.

8. Establish license fees for laying hens at the same level as for dogs and cats while sharing the aim of achieving revenue neutrality in any future animal support programs as implemented by the City.

9. Encourage guardians of laying hens to take part in a return to supplier program as a matter of course. It being noted that the London Humane Society currently returns poultry to farms when they are in
receipt of them.

10. Direct staff to Ensure there is clear representation on the topic of laying hens in the staff report currently being produced by Jay Stanford for the September 13th 2011 Community and Neighbourhoods
Committee meeting relating to: "Expanding the scope of animal welfare initiatives as part of the city's animal services program".

11. Encourage the adoption of Canadian Rare Breed Poultry for the purpose of helping preserve breeds through use such as The Chantecler and The Albertan.
London would be the first city in Canada to help safeguard that shared Canadian heritage.

Some members of the Community and Neighbourhoods Task Force on Community Engagement have observed the handling of this issue so far.
Unfortunately it has brought into question the credibility of a few councillors who have recorded public statements on matters to do with authentic and meaningful engagement with the community.

I encourage you to respect those people who have taken the time to sign petitions indicating a wish to change the bylaw through making appropriate adjustments in a manner that honours the spirit of their wishes while accommodating informed, rational and evidence based concerns.

Respectfully submitted,

Oliver Hobson


Anonymous said...

Did you ever get any response? Where is London with backyard hens?

London Council of Canadians said...

City Council voted to do nothing (after a large public meeting), so still no change in the bylaw banning backyard hens. However, a few pilot coops may be allowed on a case by case basis, pending applications now under consideration by the City of London.

Heather Gauley said...

I have started a petition to have back yard chickens. New council now, so let's try again. After all we are the people!