Lehighvalleylive / Express Times recently ran an editorial [‘Bird-brained plan to bring chicken coops to Bethlehem should be plucked‘] opposing current efforts to allow backyard chickens again. This caught my attention because it seems to completely miss the point that raising backyard chickens is a simple way for folks at all income levels to enjoy fresh, nutritious eggs — much fresher, more nutritious, and tastier than you can find in stores. The editorial also raised the specter of avian flu, which does pose some risk for birds but not humans.
We all try to cope with the high inflation caused by corporate profiteering and an unsustainable food system that delivers nutritionally-deficient foods and is a major factor in global warming and climate disruption, so what could be a better time to raise more of our own food? And if raised organically, it improves the nutritional value and also plays a role climate mitigation — sequestering atmospheric carbon into the soil and building healthy soil.
Saying that ‘Bethlehem is largely an urban setting where most homes are on top of one another and backyards are modest in size,’ I wonder if the editors even realize how many cities already allow backyard chickens, often with minimal regulation? Here are just a few of many, many examples: Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts; New York City and Albany, New York; Oakland and Berkeley, California; Washington, D.C. and Miami FL. And, right here in Pennsylvania, we have Harrisburg, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and several others.
Is there reason to believe that Bethlehem and Easton are less able to deal with possible problems than all these other cities?