Toronto

Toronto backyard chicken debate set for next year

A motion to allow residents to keep hens in their backyards will be examined by Toronto's licensing and standards committee in February.
Toronto city council is considering a motion to allow residents to keep backyard chickens. (Kati O'Hare/Associated Press)

A motion to allow residents to keep hens in their backyards will be examined by Toronto's licensing and standards committee in February.

On Wednesday, councillors Joe Mihevc and Mary-Margaret McMahon failed to get the required two-thirds majority to have city council study the issue right away. It will be sent to the committee next year and, if approved there, will be sent back to council.

"Backyard hens can be kept in a safe and appropriate manner that limits the potential for nuisances and public health concerns and city council should give consideration to allowing residents to legally keep hens," says Mihevc in the motion.

The motion cites other cities including Kingston, Ont., Vancouver and New York that allow backyard hens.

However, Coun. Giorgio Mammolitti disagrees with the motion put forward.

"Now we're going to have thousands of chickens crossing the road and we're going to have neighbours fighting against neighbours because they don't want to hit the chickens," Mammolitti said. "And when chickens get killed we're going to have other problems in the city to deal with."

Current bylaws in Toronto forbid the keeping of chickens in backyards.

Corrections

  • This story originally reported city council voted against a motion to allow residents to raise backyard chickens. In fact, council voted against studying the issue immediately and instead sent the motion back to the standards and licensing committee where it will be reviewed in February 2012.
    Dec 01, 2011 12:45 PM ET