Environmental Concerns Top Objections To Arlington Chickens | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Environmental Concerns Top Objections To Arlington Chickens

Play associated audio
Backyard hens are a great source of eggs, but some are concerned about where all the chicken waste goes.
Sarah Gilbert: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cafemama/1751133418/
Backyard hens are a great source of eggs, but some are concerned about where all the chicken waste goes.

As county leaders press forward with an urban agriculture initiative that would, among other things, allow backyard hens in Arlington, many residents say they are concerned about germs and disease. Specifically, residents wonder about what happens to all that chicken waste if fowl are allowed back into residential neighborhoods.

Rules against keeping livestock in Arlington date back at least a half a century — a time when the county was transforming from an agricultural community along the Potomac to an urban environment. Now the pendulum may be swinging in the other direction. Tomorrow, members of an urban agriculture task force will hold their inaugural meeting to consider how the zoning change might work.

George Mason University biology professor David Luther says the main public health risk from chickens is water pollution: "Like all organisms, we defecate a fair bit, and it all has to go somewhere. Generally for anything except humans, it doesn't go through water treatment plants. If the quantity is high, it can be a real problem for the local watershed."

One potential solution under consideration is to require chicken waste be disposed of in an environmentally sustainable way, although critics point out that would require creating a system of enforcement — one that would consume money and staff time. The task force is expected to issue a recommendation next year.

NPR

Look, Mom, I Finally Made It To Broadway!

NPR's Michel Martin will sit down with a panel of award-winning playwrights to ask about diversity in theater. Follow here or join us on Twitter on Friday at 7 p.m. ET, using #NPRMichel.
NPR

Sweet: Dunkin' Donuts and Krispy Kreme Pump Up Pledge On Palm Oil

Two major doughnut chains have bowed to consumer pressure to better police their palm oil purchases. Environmentalists say it's a win for consumers, trees and animals.
NPR

Congress Quietly Extends The Budget — Past Election Day, Anyway

Since the GOP retook the House, the chamber once brought the country to the brink of a debt default and once shut down the government. But in election years, including this one, there's no such drama.
NPR

Look, Mom, I Finally Made It To Broadway!

NPR's Michel Martin will sit down with a panel of award-winning playwrights to ask about diversity in theater. Follow here or join us on Twitter on Friday at 7 p.m. ET, using #NPRMichel.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.