Wednesday, November 27, 2013

EDITORIAL >> Lonoke mulls chicken plan

Henry IV, the 16th century French king, is said to have pledged to his people, “I want there to be no peasant in my realm so poor that he will not have a chicken in his pot every Sunday.”

In that spirit, we support the efforts of Joanna Dowlearn, who recently asked the Lonoke City Council to overturn the ordinance that bans chickens in town. Dowlearn belongs to Lonokians for Backyard Chickens, a group that believes the plan will help provide families with nourishment and promote a connection to the community’s farming roots.

“Folks want the option to have a natural, healthy, sustainable way to provide for their families,” she told the city council.

The back-to-the-land movement was bound to hit close to home sooner or later. New York, Seattle, Portland, Atlanta, Seattle and now Little Rock allow residents to keep a small number of chickens. Why not Lonoke or any other area community?

Council members and the mayor rightly asked several questions about the feasibility of Dowlearn’s proposal, which includes allowing an unlimited number of quails, pheasants, guineas, ducks and even roosters so long as they are housed in their own 3-by-3 coops or 4-by-4 runs.

Mayor Wayne McGee recommended that the measure be sent to the voters. To avoid the expense of an election, Dowlearn should revise her plan by limiting it only to a few hens. That should be enough to win the council’s backing.

Who can say no to poultry on Thanksgiving?