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Charming trend or troublemaker?

May 31, 2008

Re "Roosters and chickens and pigs in urban L.A., oh my!" May 25

Thanks very much for covering this interesting trend. I would point out, though, that in the United States, only in the last 60 years or so have people stopped keeping barnyard animals on their small properties. Keeping them on such a small scale is not a health risk, even when they are slaughtered in the backyard. Billions of animals a year are slaughtered by Big Agriculture. At that inhumane scale, it is anything but safe or healthy, and it is terribly polluting. And animal welfare is often the last consideration.

Small backyard flocks of chickens provide eggs, nitrogen for the soil and pest control for the garden -- and, when their time is up, a lovely Sunday meal and a week's worth of soup. Living this way reconnects us to the food cycle, from which we have become deeply disconnected, to our peril.

It is my sincere wish that home farming becomes our national model for sustainability and humane living. We have a lot to relearn.

Holly White

Detroit

The lighthearted tone of your article glosses over how this issue contributes to growing hostilities between Latinos and African Americans. African American residents of South L.A., so distressed by noise from their Latino neighbors' roosters that they kill the birds -- which in turn can escalate into neighbor-on-neighbor violence -- do so because of a lack of response from authorities.

Why does L.A. City Councilwoman Janice Hahn think that a limit of one rooster per household is OK? One rooster on a block can ruin the quality of life for its residents.

And why aren't Latino leaders, who insist that immigrants are assimilating, telling their constituency that roosters don't belong in the densely populated, urban city to which they have moved?

Sandra Malone

Los Angeles

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