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Public Hearing set this Tuesday on Proposed Chicken Ordinance

July 9, 2010

This Tuesday, July 13 (7pm), the City of Grand Rapids will be holding a public hearing on the proposal to change the current city ordinance, which does not allow residence to have chickens. The public hearing will be held at City Hall on the 9th floor and people who are supportive of having chickens in the city should attend.

Some of those who oppose the ordinance change have already expressed their opposition and are likely to be present again on Tuesday. The main opposition so far, according to a few City Commissioners we have spoke with is from Herbrucks, a large egg producer based in Saranac, MI. (This picture shows how chickens “live” at the Herbrucks facility.)

We reported last year that Herbrucks was part of public relations campaign designed to promote Michigan agri-business, a campaign that was backed by the Center for Food Integrity (CFI). CFI is a food industry front group that was created in 2007 in order to counteract the influence that Eric Schlosser’s book Fast Food Nation had on public opinion.

It should come as no surprise that a company like Herbrucks would fight against such an effort to allow Grand Rapids residents to have chickens on their property, since they would see this as a threat to their profits.

However, City Commissioners told us that so far they have heard more from opposition than they have from those in favor. There is a well-organized campaign to change the ordinance, a campaign that held numerous meetings with some City Commissioners. Their proposal is simple:

“The City of Grand Rapids should amend the current ordinance(s) to allow for the raising and owning of laying hens. Specifically we ask that the ordinance(s) be amended such that:

1) laying hens no longer categorized as “livestock” which are currently banned from the city

2) laying hens be treated with all the same rights and restrictions as other allowed animals or pets (i.e. cats and dogs which do not require inspection by the housing department nor permission from neighbors)”.

There is a growing list of cities across the country, that allow residents to have chickens and there are numerous cities that are currently debating the topic. If Grand Rapids is to join the list of those which favor chickens in an urban setting then people will need to either contact City Hall in the next few days or show up in big numbers on Tuesday to demonstrate the idea has popular support.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Bob Van permalink
    November 9, 2010 1:58 am

    What a stupid coment, that a few chickens would hurt Herbruck profits. They do more for the farmers throughout Michigan than any other farm in Mich, ie purchase thousands of bushels of corn and feed, work with organic farmers in Ind. and Mich to produces better yelds, and make a profit.


  1. With a Packed City Hall Residents Speak on Proposed Chicken Ordinance « Grand Rapids Institute for Information Democracy

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