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It’s Tough To Bring The Farm Into The City

It’s easy to play Jamestown’s recent reminder about the city’s ban on farm animals in the city limits for laughs.

The Old McDonald or Babe in the City jokes practically write themselves.

But it’s no laughing matter for neighbors who suddenly find themselves living next to an alarm clock with no snooze alarm when a rooster starts crowing every day when the sun rises. It’s certainly no laughing matter when a neighbor’s dogs never stop barking. And when that cute, lovable pig next door gets loose and destroys a flower garden or two, neighbors go from joking to swearing pretty quickly. And let’s not forget the fragrance of the farm on hot summer days.

There is always going to be tension between society’s agrarian roots and life in the city. There are hundreds of small garden plots throughout the city where people grow their own vegetables. Community gardens were at one point a major project, and Jefferson Middle School has turned a garden into a teaching tool.

The conversation changes when animals are involved. Whether we’re talking about pigs, goats or chickens, the discussion isn’t really whether or not the animals are cute or not or whether they serve a purpose, but what’s manageable when tens of thousands of people live on top of each other in close quarters.

Jamestown officials decided long ago that, in most circumstances, farm animals belong in areas where the animals have room to roam and neighbors purchase property knowing there is a good chance you may be living next to farm animals. That’s not the case in the city.

We’re sure there will be a move at some point to push the city to change its ordinances to allow for more farm animals in the city limits. The topic comes up every few years, and we’re sure given the recent south side rooster and pig that the topic will come before the City Council again. In our view, though, that’s the wrong solution. Those who want to have farm animals should look for land outside of the city – or at least on the outskirts of the city where properties have more land and fewer neighbors. Having farm animals in a densely populated area is simply not manageable.

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