Rooster rights defended in North Cowichan

Council decides not to ban them on smaller properties

Council members in North Cowichan want to ensure that roosters are not discriminated against as the municipality updates its animal-responsibility bylaws.

A staff report on the agenda at the municipality’s council meeting on Nov. 6 recommended amending zoning around keeping farm animals in North Cowichan after council adopted an updated animal-responsibility bylaw last May.

In the process of adopting the new bylaw, regulations pertaining to the number of permitted animals, minimum lot sizes and setbacks for the keeping of farm animals and poultry in the municipality were removed.

RELATED STORY: OUTDOOR CATS MUST BE SPAYED OR NEUTERED UNDER PROPOSED NORTH COWICHAN BYLAW

As part of the recommendations to amend the bylaw to cover these issues presented to council on Wednesday, staff suggested that a total of no more than 12 rabbits or poultry, and a total of no more than two farm animals, be allowed on properties bigger than 0.41 acres and less than 0.99 acres.

“But for clarity, this does not include roosters,” the report, written by development planner Larissa Barry-Thibodeau, recommended.

But Coun. Rob Douglas objected to not allowing roosters on the properties.

“Roosters are part of the rural character of the area,” he said.

“Roosters are part of the heritage for those who were born and raised here. If people live on small lots, I can understand not wanting them to have roosters, but I’d hate to see roosters completely done away with.”

RELATED STORY: BACKYARD CHICKENS APPROVED FOR COBBLE HILL VILLAGE

Rob Conway, North Cowichan’s director of planning, said the recommendation to not allow roosters on the properties is the result of the many complaints the municipality has received about them in residential areas in the past.

“The recommended amendment would only prohibit roosters on properties from 0.41 to 0.99 acres in size, so they would be still be allowed on larger properties,” he said.

Coun. Kate Marsh said she would like to see what the public thinks at the upcoming public hearing (time and place to be announced) on updating the animal-responsibility bylaw.

“I live inside the urban containment boundary and I love a rooster who lives on a nearby property,” she said.

“This issue seems funny to some, but times are changing and we need to look closely on where we get our food from.”

Council decided to take out any references to disallowing roosters before giving first and second readings to the proposed amendments to the bylaw.

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