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Inspired by the local food movement and the novelty of do-it-yourself meat, a food writer in California bought a baby Hampshire pig. She planned to raise and eventually kill and eat him for the sake of an experiment in getting personal with food. A conversation with some of her vegan readers and an open mind, however, trumped her curiosity, and that little pig, named Reggie, came instead to our Northern [...]

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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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If animals could speak, what would they say about urban animal farms?  Our photo essay explores this question.

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El Cerrito City Council decided on February 6, 2012 to take no further action on banning animal slaughter or crafting meaningful animal welfare regulations. Three out of five council members were present, two of which seemed to support the idea of animal slaughter in El Cerrito, California. Previous iterations of the “Animals Ordinance” in El Cerrito did not address slaughter at all, and most attendees of city council meetings saw the ordinance [...]

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El Cerrito is considering a law that could potentially allow people to slaughter animals on residential property, by way of omission. While considering allowing new types of animals into the city at a March 2011 City Council study session, El Cerrito City Council members held an informal vote and unanimously agreed that slaughtering animals should not be allowed. The proposed changes as they currently stand do not address animal slaughter, [...]

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114 rabbits were confiscated from a bunny mill in November of 2011. Many of the rabbits were living outside in the cold and rain, with no food and water, living in their own filth. Domesticated rabbits that live outdoors commonly fall victim to extremes in temperature, predator attack and a number of other life-threatening ailments. Though these rabbits were intended to be sold as pets, breeding rabbits in mills is [...]

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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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When a neighbor heard the screams, she panicked thinking a child had been injured. She raced to her backyard and looked frantically for the source of the blood-curdling cry. Peering over the fence, she was horrified to find a man restraining a piglet, blade raised to cut her neck. For months, she had snuck the piglet treats, fascinated by the idea of having a farm animal in her urban neighborhood. [...]

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