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Chicken Slaughter Ban Struck Down By Planning And Zoning Commission

Concerns raised over enforcement and applicability of new provision

With residents now able to raise chickens in New London, the Planning and Zoning Commission opted Monday to not take a position on whether residents may also slaughter the birds.

The commission voted 6-1 to eliminate an amendment to zoning regulations that would have declared the slaughtering of hens “expressly prohibited” in the city. The regulations on the keeping of animals were amended in August to allow residents to keep up to six hens.

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The decision followed discussion on whether such a prohibition could be enforced and whether it would put up a barrier to disposing of a chicken upon its death. Vice Chairman Barry Levine said the issue came up when the commission first discussed allowing hens and he understood the consensus was to remain silent on the issue.

“I don’t see the purpose of creating regulations you can’t enforce,” he said.

Chairman Mark Christiansen agreed, comparing the issue to the disposal of goldfish after their death.

“If the chicken dies, what do you want us to do with it?” he asked.

Zoning Enforcement Officer Michelle Johnson said the amendment would address concerns over animal cruelty. However, she said the New London Police Department or New London Animal Control would be better able to handle any “egregious” issues with the slaughter of chickens.

“They have a little more teeth in enforcement than I do, because once it’s dead it’s something I can’t enforce,” she said.

Wayne Vendetto, the sole opponent of the decision, said he was concerned what the implications would be if the regulations do not prohibit the slaughter of hens. He said that if the practice is allowed, it raises questions of where on a property it can take place.

“I have an issue with my neighbor being able to decapitate a chicken in front of my kids,” he said.

The zoning regulations on keeping animals formerly referred only to “customary household pets” and included a prohibition on commercial breeding or boarding of animals within city limits. The August changes allow hens to be kept in residential or general commercial districts as long as their principal use is single family residential.

The regulations also set rules on fencing and coop dimensions and locations, with the only other amendment passed on Monday increasing the setback for a coop from at least 10 feet from a property line to at least 20 feet. Hens must also be kept in such a way that the odor or noise will not disturb neighbors, city and state health codes are met, and provisions are made for droppings. Roosters and capons are not allowed, and hens may not be kept inside residential dwellings.

The only reference to slaughter in the new regulations is the stipulation that the keeping of hens must be non-commercial, with a prohibition on the sale of eggs or meat from slaughtered chickens.

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Jack Everett December 07, 2012 at 01:15 PM
It could raise many health issues if when slaughtering chickens is not done is a clean and responsible way. Blood left to sit on the ground can breed may life threatening bacteria. This whole thing looks to me like it's campaigning to gain votes from minority voters.
Tambria Moore December 07, 2012 at 02:24 PM
The risks of chickens are small. Salmonella is mostly associated with undercooked chicken meat. By thoroughly washing your hands after handling a chicken or going into a hen house, you can eliminate all threats of catching this disease. Avian influenza is spread through contact with the feces of contaminated migratory birds. Infected wild birds are currently only in Asia, Africa, and Eastern Europe. Any health issues with regard to blood that magically sits on the ground instead of seeping into the soil that you address, Mr. Everett, would be the concern of Ledge Light. That said, I find your minority vote comment more concerning and indicating a higher risk of bigotry forming in our community from the spread of comments such as yours, than any formation of bloodborne pathogens from the slaughter of a chicken.
David Irons December 07, 2012 at 02:48 PM
Mr. Vendetto, I would suggest that it is time you taught your children where those chicken nuggets came from and how they got on their plates. They do not magically appear on their own from McDonald's. How our food is raised and slaughtered should be part of every child's home education. Then witnessing a neighbor slaughtering a hen will not be so devastating as you fear.
Thomas Cornick December 07, 2012 at 04:42 PM
I would be more inclined to trust home butchered meat for wholesomeness than the commercial products available which are fed hormones to enhance weight gain, antibiotics to allow them to survive crowded conditions and standing in their own feces, and fed pesticides to pass through them and control flies in their wastes. As for life threatening bacteria? more an issue in the supermarkets where cheap takes precedence over quality.
Lisa Beth December 07, 2012 at 05:08 PM
With food prices so high it's good to know the City of New London is thinking of my welfare. At least I'll have eggs and chicken to eat! AND I won't have to worry about where they came or what they were fed or if they were mistreated. Good deal :)
Clark van der Lyke December 07, 2012 at 09:12 PM
I would rather have a peacock. They are more colorful than a chicken and are not restricted apparently. I am going to look them up in my copy of the Joy of Cooking.
Clark van der Lyke December 07, 2012 at 09:15 PM
Oops, I guess it would have to be a Peahen...
Lisa Beth December 07, 2012 at 09:26 PM
Their feathers are nicer...let me know what you find!
Clark van der Lyke December 07, 2012 at 10:51 PM
Julia Child advises that peahens are bitter and hard to pluck. She recommends squab. Is squab allowed? Perhaps they similar to a rock cornish game hen.
Daniella Ruiz December 10, 2012 at 03:46 AM
theres plenty of those blasted Canadian Geese, honking their way into my menu. nice and plump too, they fatten up real nice eating on my lawn during the summer. Old man Scrooge would be happy to have us all penniless and cold this holiday season as well.
Lisa Beth December 10, 2012 at 02:33 PM
Squab are very small, so I'm told. How about pheasant?
Thomas Cornick December 10, 2012 at 04:17 PM
Domestic rabbit is ready for slaughter in 12 weeks. Coturnix quail are ready in 7 weeks. A bit small but fast to the table, 2 dressed birds would not crowd the vegetables off of your plate.

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