Chickens banned in Calgary; food safety risk?

Chicken banned in the city sounds like the title of yet another bad Loverboy song (Canada has so much to apologize for in terms of bad music inflicted upon the world, see below; this song by Calgary’s Loverboy came on the radio while driving back from Nebraska and Phebus said he liked it; there’s no accounting for taste).

But that’s exactly what cow-town Calgary has done, and two local food activists who collect eggs from their pets responded Wednesday by vowing make it a human-rights issue in court.

A council committee voted 5-2 against allowing residential chicken coops, with members expressing concerns about everything from chicken-feline conflicts to livestock-borne disease.

Urban-hen advocates, picking up on a trend that’s spread throughout B.C. and gaining momentum elsewhere in Canada, have touted backyard egg-layers as a way to ensure food safety and nutrition.

Ald. John Mar rejected that notion, saying he’s fine buying quality fresh eggs — including free-range ones — at the supermarket.

Paul Hughes, longtime frontman for Calgary’s urban-chicken movement, said

"I don’t have salmonella. I don’t have avian flu. My eight-year-old handles these chickens every day of his life. You get chickenpox, but that doesn’t come from chickens."

Maybe. But I’m sure glad Hughes isn’t the medical officer of health for the entire city.

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About Douglas Powell

A former professor of food safety and the publisher of, Powell is passionate about food, has five daughters, and is an OK goaltender in pickup hockey. Download Doug’s CV here. Dr. Douglas Powell editor, retired professor, food safety 3/289 Annerley Rd Annerley, Queensland 4103 61478222221 I am based in Brisbane, Australia, 15 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time