Texas Town Outlaws Common Sense

Lancaster Texas city officials have decided to enforce codes outlawing backyard chickens and Marye Audet a food writer, author and owner of nineteen heritage breed Barred Rocks has been pulled into their poultry dragnet. She ain’t happy about it.

“My dad and my father- in- law were WWII vets. I am a veteran. My husband is a disabled veteran. My oldest son is in Iraq currently, for his second tour of duty. And this afternoon, as I shut the door, in tears, I wondered…This is what we served for?”

To add to the indignities, Audet is not some tight quarters urban chicken enthusiast. She and her family live on 2 1/2 acres. Read more about her dilemma in her article City of Lancaster bans sustainable living…more or less.

How will we know when our country has climbed out of its current morass? A city will cite someone for not having chickens.

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16 Comments

  1. Thanks…. absolutely this is ridiculous. Cities, towns, and homeowner’s associations must stop being the Gestapo and blocking the Constitutional rights of homeowners..Which include the right to own property. My 16 year old recently wondered if Americans weren’t living a type of serfdom rather than property owners…astute, I thought…thanks for blogging.

  2. When our neighbor’s dog dug under our fence, attacked and killed 3 of our chickens, their response was, “You shouldn’t have chickens. It’s your fault!” OMG! I agree with with Marye above – are we in serfdom? Luckily, the majority of folks in our neighborhood are older, retired and are quite well versed in living below their means. They applaud our choices to have a huge garden, replace elms with fruit trees and incorporate a laundry line. And, the chickens? Most love them and stop by to visit.

  3. so is there a petition for change or someone we can all write to? Id also advice her to put a diary on dailykos or something if she wants people to get involved.

  4. Civil disobedience. How many municipal by-law officers can there be? Get your neighbours on side with fresh eggs and you’ll never have a problem.

  5. Oh you haven’t lived until you have dealt with small town, good ole boy, southern gov’mint. The neighbors on this side of the street (3 of us) have all been harassed. I am expecting to be dealing with eminent domain issues soon. And yes, we plan on fighting it. Thank you to those of you who have offered comments and support. :)

  6. Absolutely outrageous! We have 8 chickens on a half acre in a suburban neighborhood & the neighbors fall into three categories– oblivious, amused or nostalgic (the older folks invariable comment, “I used to keep chickens.”). I wonder how your officials even found out about your chooks?!

  7. Henry David Thoreau called it “The Duty of Civil Disobedience”. Don’t roll over and let it happen.

    A law is usually just someone’s (an ego-maniac with delusions of power) opinion, seemingly legitimized through the sometimes occult political process.

    Find out who put the law on the books, and MAKE SURE they don’t get re-elected. Nothing strikes more fear into a politician than the fear of being kicked out of office.

    “That government is best which governs not at all; and when men and women are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which the will have.” — HDT

  8. I wonder what the reasons for the ban are.
    Health Hazard? Effect on property values? Rampaging chickens praying on small children and the elderly?
    At my age, I KNOW that there is always a reason for this kind of law. No one awoke one day and said “Ah! today i will outlaw chickens for no reason”.
    I am willing to bet that there is some self-serving motive at work here. Maybe the mayor owns shares of Tyson. Maybe the town wants to sell itself as a modern urban center.
    All the same, YOU are the town, and if you want chickens you should have chickens.

  9. “Anonymous” said it better than I would have. We just have to politely tell the bureaucrats to find a more productive line of work.
    Just before I read this entry I read about H.R. 875 going through congress in our nation’s capital. I am discouraged. I hope we don’t need a total collapse for a rebirth.

  10. Our town has a chicken ban, too, but I know families that keep/kept them. I, too, am curious for what the reasons are…”health” related perhaps? Strange, considering we’d actually be healthier humans and they’d be healthier fowl!

  11. In social terms, backyard flocks were frowned on in my So Cal home town because of all the illegal cock fighting that went on in the Latino community.
    Epidemiologicaly, backyard flocks are frowned upon here in So Cal due to a 1973 importing of Newcastle disease (a disease devastating to birds, but not humans). It was financially devastating to the chicken industry, and has reoccurred in backyard flocks ever since. (link: http://www.thefreelibrary.com/CHICKEN+DISEASE+SPREADING-a095957938 ).
    These days, backyard flocks make us Angeleno Public Health folk nervous because of the Avian flu that we know will eventually work it’s way around the Pac Rim. It’s most likely to turn up in the home grown flocks where people and chickens interact most frequently and casually, so it’s a worrisome issue.
    Of course, it’s a risk that needs to be weighed against the growing need for locally produced inexpensive food, but with everything else falling apart, that consideration has fallen by the wayside.
    I would like to see a compromise where backyard flocks are encouraged, but perhaps the risk is reduced by requiring the owner to take a short class in chicken health/safety that teaches the owner what to look for and how to prevent/control/report potentially disastrous infections.

  12. Chickens should be able to live with people in small, well kept flocks, without the gov freaking, absolutely. But sometimes I miss the days of Homegrown Evolution talking about growing things instead of obsessing over where the next egg with come from, chicken fairs, chicken catalogs, etc. The veggies and fruit are more critical, yes?

    To anonymous, anything that is devastating to the poultry INDUSTRY is a good thing. Avian flu is far less likely to show up in small, healthy flocks than in those huge dens of disease. That’s why backyard flocks are better than factory farms. Better yet is no chicken breeding at all.

  13. I’m all for the keeping of chickens, but I didn’t realise World War 2, Iraq, etc were about the right to keep poultry.

  14. Anonymous.
    Yes, they were. Speaking as a veteran (of hte Cold War, not WWII..LOL!} my oath was to serve my country loyally, protecting the freedoms of the United States. Nearly an veteran of WWII will tell you that they fought so that our basic rights were protected, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in its many forms. WHile it may seem a small thing, the right to keep poultry IS one of those rights, along with the right to keep and bear arms, the right to have a good ax, and the right to cut down a tree on your property without a permit (you need a permit in our town to cut tree down on your own property). You see, it is the small rights we give up easily and pretty soon we have given them all away. It is easier to keep something in the first place than it is to get it back.
    So yes, definitely, when we go to war it is to protect the right to keep poultry, gripe about the government, protest, or whatever. Intrusive government creates socialism…and we are well on our way to that.

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