The town council meeting in Black Jack on Tuesday night regarding the chickens was extraordinarily well attended. In case you have not been following, my friend Guy Niere received a letter a little less than a week ago without warning, demanding that he get rid of his rare breed of endangered chickens by July 2nd.
There had never been any complaints lodged against his chickens. In fact, his neighbor who lives nearest to his coops spoke in his defense saying that if there were anyone who had a reason to complain, it should be her, but she had not even known that he had chickens!
It appears that the mayor saw an article from the Post Dispatch dated April 25, 2012 and did not realize that people in Black Jack had chickens. The comments on the Post article do not speak highly of the city's actions and the mayor's attention to this matter. The Post Dispatch sent a reporter who submitted this article just after midnight.
All four co-organizers from our area's 405 member local backyard chicken meetup group were in attendance, and speakers from Clayton and residents from Black Jack and myself all spoke on behalf of the locavore/local grown/green food movement, and a person's right to own chickens. There are no ordinances banning chickens in Black Jack. There are ordinances against poultry farms, and that is what Guy was cited against. If one has ever been to a massive factory farm warehousing chickens and compared it to a backyard chicken coop, where chickens get out all day and eat bugs and till and fertilize the gardens, anyone can tell the difference.
The mayor does not even seem to be aware that one of his neighbors has chickens. Why? Because the chickens are NOT A PROBLEM!
Yesterday, following the meeting of Tuesday night, the press went wild, and Channel 4 News/KMOV, Channel 11/KPLR and Fox2 all showed up at Neire's residence with cameras in tow. Andy Banker, co-anchor of Fox 2/11, and Russell Kinsaul, anchor/reporter of Channel 4 very positively presented Guy's case, and I watched it with interest.
Friday, from 4-5 p.m. I will be a guest speaker on WGNU radio and yes - you can bet this will be brought up!
Chickens are legal in Clayton, Kirwood, Webster, Ladue, Creve Coeur, Maplewood, Richmond Heights - in fact, Guy even spoke at their city council in advisement of setting up chicken guidelines. He lives next to a vacant four-acre field and his nearest neighbors live on 3 and 20 acres beside and behind him. C'mon now, aren't there more important things to do in city hall than fuss about a few chickens?