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This article originally appeared on Forbes. Somehow or other, it has become the mark of twenty-first century urban hipness to keep a bunch of birds out back. We’re mostly talking hens. Exact numbers are unavailable, but the trend has become popular enough for dozens of major cities to revise their animal ordinances, thereby opening the legal floodgates for the emergence of urban animal agriculture, an endeavor that most American cities [...]

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Poll also finds that a large majority of residents in Oakland City Districts one & three are mostly undecided about their first choice candidate in their local district race Oakland, CA – A new flash poll conducted by Neighbors Opposed to Backyard Slaughter (NOBS) found that over 50% of Oakland residents in City Districts one & three – areas with the highest concentration of urban livestock – are opposed to [...]

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I’m writing to you about the piece you allowed to run on your website (about “DIY Slaughter”). I’m one of the founders and organizers of Neighbors Opposed to Backyard Slaughter, and I’m proud of the work we’re doing to prevent harm and protect animals in Oakland. We are in complete support of urban farming and of the policy changes Oakland recently made to allow people to grow crops to feed [...]

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As the urban-farming movement grows in popularity, the importance of animal husbandry as a piece of the puzzle becomes a must-act issue. In the past few years, independent bookstores in cities such as San Francisco, Oakland, and Portland have sprouted new urban-farming sections. Sandwiched between celebrity gourmands and sustainable gardeners are newly minted books covering a range of topics relating to hobby-scale urban agriculture. Covered with colorful pastoral graphics overlaid [...]

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In Oakland, where officials are now overseeing a zoning update for urban agriculture, interest groups are preparing for a bloody battle. As anyone who reads Marion Nestle knows, industrial food thrives on obscuring the truth. Exaggerated health claims, selective labeling, and misleading scientific qualifications underscore the sad reality of big food’s habit of obfuscation, a habit that refuses to let accuracy interfere with profit. Given the depth of this problem, [...]

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CBS5 San Francisco reports on the Oakland Planning Department’s crusade to legalize backyard slaughter in the city. Is selling rabbit pot pies out of your backyard a human right? Colleen Patrick-Goudreau featured in this segment, explaining the reasons to keep urban farming policy as it is — crops only.

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And locals aren’t the only ones appalled. The Oakland planning proposal to deregulate animal slaughter and officially sanction backyard “husbandry” is the focus of James McWilliams’ blistering critique in The Atlantic. It turns out that reconstructing the city’s yards and vacant lots as “sustainable” animal farms and urban “homesteads” is a bit problematic. (Warning: some descriptions are graphic.) Judging from the comments, the proposal is just as contentious outside the [...]

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On July 21, in a darkened auditorium adjacent to the elevated BART tracks at 57th and MLK, the Oakland Planning Department held a community workshop on urban agriculture. With 300 plus attendees clamoring to shout above one another, the loudest voices dominated the discussion, and other perspectives were silenced without redress. The goal? To “build community” and to incorporate “issues of concern” surrounding urban agriculture. The outcome? Failure on both [...]

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With access to healthful fruits and vegetables lacking in many areas of Oakland, the city is modifying its zoning regulations to make it easier for people to grow and sell edible plants. As an urban gardener in Oakland, I support these changes 110 percent. The problem is that some are also pushing the city to allow for animal farming and slaughter, and some people have already begun killing animals illegally. [...]

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The urban livestock enthusiasts profiled in “Meet the farmer next door” in the Chronicle are pertinent to why Oakland residents should be concerned about encouraging neighbors to breed and kill animals as a hobby in our city.  Look past the smiling faces and investigate the claims they use to justify urban animal agriculture in Oakland — an uncomfortable truth will come to light. One of the animal farmers interviewed explains [...]

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