Residents cry fowl over chicken bylaw

Stopping people from keeping chickens in their backyard is a violation of basic human rights, James Murray told city council Monday.

Stopping people from keeping chickens in their backyard is a violation of basic human rights, James Murray told city council Monday.

Citing article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which guarantees the right to food, the Riverdale resident called the current law “frustrating” and “absurd.”

“They’re fantastic pets,” said Murray. “They hardly make any noise, if you compost properly there’s hardly any stench, we’ve hardly had any complaints and the neighbourhood kids love them.”

Under the mistaken impression that the city had already decided to allow backyard chickens, Murray and his housemates bought three last week. But only a few days after they arrived, a bylaw officer, prompted by a neighbour’s complaint, ordered them to get rid of the birds.

Council is currently considering amending the Animal Control Bylaw to allow up to six chickens in urban zones.

One of Murray’s housemates, Christiane Woods, said that the city should amend the bylaw.

“In the Yukon we live in a food desert, and food security is an issue,” said Woods. “I think it’s really important to look at this bylaw and consider the benefits that Whitehorse would have just by allowing chickens.”

Contact Josh Kerr at

joshk@yukon-news.com

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