***Editor’s Note: Letters to the editor are the author’s opinion alone***
For the past year, the rallying cry has been “follow the science.” The Center for Disease Control has done a tremendous job in providing guidance as we continue to go through the pandemic. Wash your hands, wear your mask and keep a social distance.
The CDC provides sound scientific guidance on another matter: urban backyard chickens. Per the CDC, “The raising of backyard poultry is growing from consumer interest in knowing where one’s food comes from.”
Many people with backyard poultry simply buy one or two birds to keep in their backyard for fresh eggs. Chickens, ducks, geese, turkey and other live poultry can carry salmonella germs in their guts. Live poultry can have salmonella germs in their droppings and on their feathers, feet and beaks, even when they appear healthy and clean. These germs can spread to the environment where the poultry live and roam, including their coops, cages, hay, soil, and feed and water dishes. People can get sick from contact with anything in the bird’s environment, even if they don’t touch the bird directly.
Backyard poultry flocks are an increasing and important cause of salmonella infections in people in the United States. “In 2020, CDC and public health officials in all 50 states investigated 17 multistate outbreaks of salmonella illnesses linked to contact with poultry in backyard flocks,” the CDC said.
Twice before the idea of backyard chickens has been raised to the city, and twice before it was rejected for the same scientific reasons provided above. Please join me in voting “no” on the non-binding referendum regarding backyard chickens at the April 6 municipal elections.
Second Ward Alderman
City of DeKalb