Planning committee endorses backyard chicken pilot project in London

File photo. Brian McKechnie, Global News

The City of London is revisiting the issue of backyard chickens, seven years after voting against a push to allow people to have laying hens in their backyard.

READ MORE: Backyard chickens may come home to roost in London

At Monday’s planning and environment committee meeting, councillors approved the Urban Agriculture Strategy, which includes a backyard chicken pilot project, in a unanimous vote. Councillor Stephen Turner, however, was recused from the vote because of his work with the Middlesex London Health Unit.

The strategy also includes urban farms, support for farmers’ markets, community kitchens, community composting and school gardens. A final vote on the strategy will be held at the next full council meeting.

A few citizens in the Council Chambers gallery held signs expressing opposition to a potential backyard chicken pilot project in London on November 6, 2017. 980 CFPL

The strategy is not without its detractors, however. A few citizens in the gallery held signs expressing opposition to the project.

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Last week, the Animal Welfare Advisory Committee confirmed it is against the pilot project, citing concerns about the risk to chickens in extreme weather conditions, safe handling and housing of chickens, disposal of unwanted hens, the risk of predators to hens and public health.

READ MORE: Toronto city council approves pilot project allowing backyard chickens

Since London first debated allowing backyard chickens, a handful of municipalities in Ontario have gone ahead with the initiative.

The city of Toronto approved a pilot project of its own last month while Brampton, Niagara Falls, Kingston and Caledon all allow residents to keep chickens in backyard coops.

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