Monday, August 3, 2009

Cluck Life

© 2009, Joshua Stark

As this is my first year raising ducks, I've come across some interesting folks, and a way of life that seems to be a growing interest for many, raising animals that also provide food. However, our legal system is a slowly-evolving one, and although usually that's a good thing, communities are finding themselves stuck in early- and mid-20th Century city ordinances that tried to strictly delineate rural, suburban, and urban living. Sacramento, touted as Cow Town, for example, doesn't allow backyard chicken-keeping, much less actual cows.
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We are lucky to live in the more civilized West Sacramento, over the river and in a different county, and where home-buyers must recognize the right to farm. But Sacramento is stuck in the Tyson Age, where all meat and animal products must come from hundreds of miles away, double-sealed and processed so as to eliminate any living thing's desire to get any sustenance out of it.

But times are changing, and raising small food animals is one place where there can be seen a great convergence in the four major environmental communities: hunting groups, conservationists, environmentalists, and environmental justice folks. In particular, enviros who hope to decrease the carbon footprint in our food industry and eat more seasonally and geographically appropriate foods, and environmental justice folks who raise animals because it is a part of their cultures and traditions, can find real common ground on this issue. Enter the folks at the Campaign to Legalize Urban Chicken Keeping.

Yes, CLUCK.

Funded through Pesticide Watch's EAT Sacramento program, CLUCK is trying to change chicken laws in Sacramento. They have a relatively new blog, and are currently drumming up support for changes that would allow Sacramento residents to raise laying hens. Right now, they are trying to allay councilmemebers' fears that if Sacramento relents and allows people more freedom to choose their pets, it will quickly regress to a backwater podunk. Born and raised in a podunk, I think there are worse things to fear, like a 25% high-school dropout rate, but that's just me. However, such holes-in-the-wall as San Francisco and Denver currently allow laying hens, so perhaps fears are a tad out of place. I think I'm arguing here that, in fact, a city's acceptance of local food and self-reliance among its residents is actually a symbol of progress. After many years of trying to sterilize our urban environs, and with the results being greater fear of super-resistant bacteria, obesity, and no connection to the outdoors, this one small step may be just what we need.

I know that since we've started raising ducks, various neighbors have purchased chickens, roosters, and quail, and the little kids in the neighborhood are excited and interested in real animals. We are off to a great start to this century, I think, in West Sacramento. Good luck, CLUCKERs, hopefully you can get our sister city to the East to join us.

2 comments:

Albert A Rasch said...

Josh,

Great education for the younger ones. I have to get you all those links... I'll try to do that today.

Best regards,
Albert A Rasch
Trophy Merriam’s Turkey
Game Reserves, High Fence Hunting What are the Facts?

Josh said...

Thanks, Albert! I look forward to reading them.