Chicken-Keeping Bill Advances in the Arizona House

Mar 19, 2014

Cities could soon lose their right to restrict people from keeping chickens and any other types of fowl in their yards. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer explains.

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Sen. David Farnsworth said there are people with allergies who cannot use most store-bought eggs because of what commercially raised chickens are fed. He also said it would benefit poor people, especially those who may not want to accept food stamps. But Farnsworth, raised on a farm, said he had the “privilege” of going out to the henhouse when his mother needed eggs to bake a cake. Sometimes there were none.

“And so I would wait until I heard that friendly cackle of the eggs and stick my hand under the hen. And there was that nice, warm egg and gathered that and took it in for the happy event of the cake or whatever,” Farnsworth said.

And, Rep. Demion Clinco said the legislation supports “a new model of urban farming and urban sustainability.” But, Rep. John Kavanagh said neighbors have rights, too.

“Somebody has a nice backyard, a patio. They’re trying to relax by their pool. Are they going to have clucking all the time. This is not just about the right of people to have hens. This is about the right of their neighbors to enjoy the suburban or urban lifestyle which they’ve chosen. This is not Beverly Hillbillies,” Kavanagh said.

Tuesday’s 5-3 vote by the House Government Committee sends the measure to the full House.