By Melissa Vatterott, Food and Farm Coordinator
On Thursday, February 25th, I testified at the Public Safety Committee Meeting at St. Louis City Hall in support of Board Bill Number 296, which would increase the number and types of animals allowed in the city. Alderman Scott Ogilvie introduced the bill on February 5th, 2016. The Public Safety Committee voted the bill out of committee, with a 7-1 vote.
Why MCE Supports Animal Agriculture in the City of St. Louis
As an environmental advocacy organization, MCE recognizes that industrialized agriculture threatens everything we seek to protect – clean air, clean water, open space, wetlands, natural floodplains, and more. As a result, our Food and Farm Program advocates for a localized, sustainable food system that support farmers that take care of their natural resources and provides access to nutritious, sustainably grown local food for all people across Missouri and the St. Louis Regional Foodshed.
Urban agriculture is one tool in the toolbox for increasing access to healthy locally-grown food and is especially beneficial for low-income individuals who may struggle to afford local products in the grocery store and may live in communities where healthy food in general is of limited supply. While individuals in the City of St. Louis are free to grow fruits and vegetables in their backyards, the number of traditional farm animals currently allowed is restricted based on the number of dogs and cats on the property. The current ordinance in effect allows only four animals in the aggregate. For example, if you have a cat and a dog, you can only have two additional animals of the following variety: chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, guineas, peafowl, or rabbits. As a result, MCE saw a need to update the current ordinance and expand the number and variety of animals allowed in the city.
What is in the Bill
The bill would allow individuals to own up to eight fowl and up to eight rabbits on lots up to 20,000 square feet. On lots greater than 20,000 square feet, an individual could have one additional fowl and one additional rabbit for every 1,000 square feet in excess of 20,000 square feet, to a maximum of 20 each.… Read the rest