Category Archives: Urban Life

Keeping Backyard Chickens Is Not a Good Idea

chickens-in-coopBy Kate Lawrence
(reblogged from A Practical Peacemaker Ponders)

The following is a letter I sent to Denver’s Washington Park Profile in response to their front-page article on keeping backyard chickens:

I’m glad your July article on backyard chickens included the downside.  Given the practical issues of daily care, humane concerns, and health consequences of eating eggs, is this something the city of Denver should be encouraging?

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Degrowth and Veganism

"Degrowth" is something natural and beautiful

“Degrowth” is something natural and beautiful

How can we deal with climate change, let alone peak oil, water shortages, deforestation, and everything else — given that truly effective environmental action would probably stop the economy from growing and totally change everyone’s lifestyle?

Our whole economy depends on fossil fuels, and our livestock-centered agricultural system is pillaging the earth’s biosphere. Veganism is surely part of the needed approach here. Continue reading

Why Does Whole Foods Sell Meat?

(Hint: It has something to do with the economic system)

James McWilliams recently (September 4) wrote an open letter to Whole Foods asking them to close their meat counters.  This is noteworthy because John Mackey, their CEO, is himself a vegan, even though Whole Foods sells a lot of animal products.  Continue reading

Passive House Politics Getting Complicated

The “passive house” concept is taking off.  This is a new way of building homes that reduces the energy required for their maintenance by an amazing 90% from the standard construction.  This way of constructing buildings is essential if we are to deal with such challenges as climate change and resource depletion. Continue reading

Does Digitization Decrease Empathy?

James McWilliams recently asked whether the digitization of communications decreases empathy, and thus potentially our empathy with other humans and animals.  He talks about e-mail between students and professors, “butchered” grammar in e-mail being used to substitute for the student and the professor actually having a conversation, and wonders where this is all headed. Yes, the new media enable vegans to promote their cause more effectively (Earthlings), but it also enables the bad guys to push their case with equal or greater effectiveness. Continue reading

Rules and Regulations Governing Food Producing Animals

Hens

The ordinance on “food producing animals” (chickens, ducks, and goats) in Denver was passed last June.  What follows below is the statement I submitted to the Board of Environmental Health on the proposed rules and regulations.  You can read the proposed rules here (PDF). Continue reading

HSUS Letter to Denver City Council on the FPA Ordinance

Hens

I have just received a PDF copy of a letter the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) sent to Denver City Council concerning the proposed Food Producing Animals ordinance.  Read the whole thing (PDF document) here.

The letter raises a number of interesting points, some of which have not been publicly expressed so far in the discussion.  Continue reading

Vegans Marching for Climate Change Action

iMatter March

We joined the “iMatter” youth-led march for climate change action yesterday, shortly after it left Cuernavaca Park in Denver. There were several hundred people who marched up 15th Street to Civic Center Park. We had our “Go Vegan” signs, and weren’t quite sure where we would fit in, but finally joined the march just in front of the Greenpeace contingent, which looked like the most animal-friendly bunch. Continue reading

Next Door to Livestock — Another Neighbor’s Reaction

Hens

Hens

Sundari Kraft is the most visible proponent of the proposed “Food Producing Animals” ordinance which would drastically reduce the limitations on backyard chickens, ducks, and goats.  Earlier I reported that one of her neighbors, Roseanne Jelacic, has written to City Council objecting to the ordinance based on her own experience with Sundari as a neighbor.  Now, it turns out, another of Sundari’s neighbors, Lynn Herwick, has done the same thing some days ago.  Continue reading

Casualties of Backyard Livestock Agriculture

Hens

Figuring out how to live with a pet can be a challenging experience, just because animals are different from humans. Even in the case of dogs and cats, which are common enough in our society so that knowledge of their care is very widespread, figuring out their proper care is not trivial. But dealing with a new kind of animal, like chickens and goats, can be a major challenge. If you try to spread the acceptance and adoption of this kind of animal, a lot of people are going to get it wrong. Continue reading

Seattle’s Experience with Backyard Chickens

Hens

Backyard livestock supporters often tout the success of other cities who have allowed backyard chickens or goats. Seattle is often held up as just such a success. But is it?

If you just talked to city officials, that might be the impression you get. So I talked to Tiffany Young, a member of the Duck Rescue Network and backyard fowl rescuer. Continue reading

Feral Chickens: another problem with backyard chickens

Hens

Somehow, amidst all the glorious success stories that supporters tell about cities who have promoted backyard chickens, feral chickens never get mentioned. The problem of feral chickens represents another problem for supporters of the proposed “food producing animals” (FPA) ordinance. Continue reading

What are Humane Standards for Urban Goats?

 

Urban goat

The draft of the Denver “Food Producing Animals” ordinance states: “There must be at least one hundred and thirty (130) square feet of permeable land area available for each dwarf goat, plus adequate shelter space for each dwarf goat.”

Is this amount of permeable land area per goat enough to be humane?  If not, what would be enough? Continue reading

Next Door to Livestock — One Denver resident’s experience

Hens

If the ordinance currently before the Denver City Council to allow virtually anyone to keep chickens and goats passes, what would this mean for Denver?

Denver currently allows chickens and goats in residential areas but only under highly restrictive conditions, and probably fewer than a dozen households have the permits to do so.  Roseanne Jelacic is therefore one of the few people in Denver to live next door to someone legally keeping chickens and goats.  Last Monday she sent an e-mail letter to all the members of the Denver City Council concerning her experiences.  After receiving her permission, I have reprinted it below (deleting only contact information). Continue reading