United Poultry Concerns
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23 July 2012
UPC Letter Regarding the Keeping of Chickens
and Goats for Eggs and Milk in Long Beach

July 19, 2012

Regarding the keeping of chickens and goats for eggs and milk in Long Beach

To: Long Beach, CA City Officials

On behalf of United Poultry Concerns, I am submitting this letter in support of Long Beach residents who oppose relaxing current policies to allow households in Long Beach to keep chickens and goats for eggs and milk. Long Beach is a densely crowded residential community. Allowing more farm animals into the suburban lifestyle would likely create significant problems that would greatly outweigh any benefit. Here are some key issues:

The keeping of farm animals attracts rodents and flies. Rats and mice are drawn to the seeds, grains and other feed rations and to the bedding of straw or woodchips for nesting and reproduction. Manure, feed, broken eggs and dripping milk attract flies, and snakes can also move in. The only way to prevent the flies and rodents that normally accompany the keeping of poultry and goats is through undesirable toxic chemicals or by scrupulous cleanliness.

Having run a chicken sanctuary for 25 years, and having dealt with urban backyard chicken-keeping issues around the country, I have learned that many residential owners of chickens do not practice scrupulous or even moderate cleanliness. Most know little or nothing about keeping farm animals, or else they model their practices on standard farming practices and conditions that a suburb would not tolerate. Ignorance is encouraged by claims that farm animals require little labor. This falsehood has led many people to want to keep chickens, goats and other farm animals, thinking they can have a ready supply of animal products with little or no work.

The result of this erroneous thinking is: flies, rodents, odors, sick animals, discarded animals, animal cruelty, mounting filth, and transmittable diseases such as Salmonella Enteritidis.

Whereas chickens and goats are clean animals by nature, odors develop and disease organisms spread when their owners maintain them in squalor in deference to “tradition” or due to indifference. Many farm animal owners do not even provide veterinary care for their animals, and many veterinarians will refuse to treat farm animals, despite the fact that veterinary care is an essential obligation for anyone with dependent animals.

Similarly, many farm animal owners do not provide predator-proof yards for their animals but allow them to be at the mercy of predators and to roam into neighbors’ yards, creating further conflict.

Adding more farm animals to Long Beach will place an additional burden on local animal shelter resources. Animal shelters typically run on tight budgets dealing with animal cruelty cases, dangerous dog calls, and the daily operation of their facilities. Adding more chickens and goats to Long Beach will increase the number of unwanted and abused animals and the overall work needed to enforce chicken and goat licensing laws, nuisance complaints and related issues. By allowing more chickens and goats to be kept by Long Beach residents, would taxes be raised to accommodate the additional burdens on animal law enforcement?

For these reasons, Long Beach officials should reject proposals to permit or increase residential maintenance of chickens and goats. The problems will be greater than the benefits of this farm animal fad.

Please do not hesitate to contact United Poultry Concerns for more information.

Thank you for your attention.


Karen Davis, PhD
United Poultry Concerns
PO Box 150
Machipongo, VA 23405

United Poultry Concerns is a nonprofit organization that promotes the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl. www.upc-online.org

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