Bye Bye Birdie

Chicago’s Health Committee is set to vote on a measure this afternoon that would prohibit residents from owning chickens as pets. Alderwoman Lona Lane, the ordinance’s main proponent says that some chicken owners in residential Chicago create an unsanitary nuisance.

There are residents within our ward who have neighbors raising chickens as pets. They’re letting them run around in their backyards. Debris from the chickens is creating mice. The odor from the feathers is something they’re not happy with,

I could have said the same thing (almost word for word minus the feathers) about my neighbors during my freshman year of college. Those boys, like the chickens Lane seeks to ban, were dirty, smelly, and attracted all kinds of pests to the dormitory. Did I run to a government body screeching for a law to ban boys from living in the city? Of course not. It is ludicrous to attribute characteristics (negative or positive) to a group based on the actions of a few members of a group.

Are chickens inherently dirty? Well, they’re animals, so they aren’t going to bathe or pick up after themselves (a bit like college boys), but the same is true of any animal. While there are a few rotten eggs out there creating potentially unhealthy living situation for their neighbors by neglecting their pets, they should not be taken as the norm. Certainly, there are many other chicken owners who take proper care of their pets. Why punished everyone for the bad behavior of a few? The proper response is to punish problem-owners one by one, as their individual behavior warrants. Like I was free to file a complaint about the boys living down the hall, Chicago residents are free to complain about the chicken coop next door; free for now that is.
Related: I am proud that I was able to limit my fowl punning after reading this, which may contain the most pun-filled paragraph ever written.