For over a year, controversy has surrounded Oakland’s plan to draft a new urban agriculture policy, and specifically whether or not it will encourage raising and slaughtering backyard animals like chickens, rabbits, pigs, and others.
A new poll of 1,158 residents of Oakland’s Districts 1 and 3 (where urban animal agriculture is most prevalent) strongly indicates that animals should be left out of the plan.
Sizeable majorities in both districts oppose it: 52 percent opposed to 28 percent supportive in District 1, and 55 percent opposed to 20 percent supportive in District 3, with the remainder undecided in both cases. These are the sort of numbers you want to see if you’re mounting a ballot initiative campaign; for a response to a proposed regulatory change, they’re basically a community mandate.
Here’s hoping that city officials, from the Planning Commission to the City Council itself, take note. Given that it’s an election year, there’s a good chance they might … but to be sure, if you live in Oakland, consider sending the link to the poll to your elected officials.
"Urban agriculture" shouldn’t and doesn’t have to mean “urban animal farms foisted on communities that don’t want them.”
Rick Kelley spends his days at an Oakland workers’ rights nonprofit and his evenings probably playing moderately accurate renditions of Propagandhi songs with his awesome partner and their rescued pups, Bandit and Emma. He’s currently active in organizing for an Oakland urban agriculture proposal that does not include animal exploitation, and both writes and serves on the advisory board for the Food Empowerment Project. He used to blog, and might do so again someday.