A Method for Guarding Animal Welfare and Public Health: Tracking the Rise of Backyard Poultry Ordinances

  • Catherine Brinkley
  • Jacqueline Scarlett Kingsley
  • Joy Mench
Original Paper


In response to a growing number of permissive urban animal agriculture ordinances across the nation, this research reviews the spatial and temporal attributes of urban poultry ordinances across 100 municipalities in Colorado. More poultry ordinances have been passed or modified in Colorado in the last 5 years than in the previous hundred. Comparing regulations to commercial operations and animal shelter surrenders, we find that permissive ordinances cluster near major urban areas even where they are in close proximity to large commercial operations. Most ordinances inadequately address both human and animal health and welfare concerns. Provisions governing animal slaughter and routine veterinary care are rare, presenting a concern for monitoring and intervening in public health crises. In addition, shelters anticipate higher poultry intakes, particularly as unwanted birds are turned loose to become strays.


Public health One health Animal welfare Animal shelters Regulations Zoonotic disease Urban planning 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© This is a U.S. Government work and not under copyright protection in the US; foreign copyright protection may apply 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Human Ecology, College of Agriculture and Environmental SciencesUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA
  2. 2.Department of Animal SciencesUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA

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