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

If These Shorts Could Talk ... New Book Tells 'Worn Stories'

In her new collection Worn Stories, Emily Spivack compiles odes to beloved pieces of clothing, written by celebrities and fashionistas.
NPR

Can Oxfam Nudge Big Food Companies To Do Right?

Oxfam is scoring the 10 biggest food companies on a scale of 1 to 10 on a host of issues, from worker rights to climate change. But will promises translate into concrete changes?
NPR

Rick Perry's Legal Trouble: The Line Between Influence And Coercion

The Texas governor is charged with abuse of office and coercing a public official, but he claims he was just doing what governors do: Vetoing a budget item.
NPR

New GoPro Camera Harness Captures Dog's-Eye View

This past week, the camera maker GoPro unveiled the Fetch harness, which allows people to attach the durable cameras to their dogs. The company was inspired by some DIY efforts at pet videography.

Leave a Comment

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