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


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.

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    Cities: Alamosa, Arvada, Aurora, Avon, Basalt, Bayfield, Bennett, Boulder, Bow Mar, Brighton, Broomfield, Buena Vista, Burlington, Carbondale, Castle Pines, Castle Rock, Centennial, Cherry Hills Village, Commerce City, Cortez, Craig, Crested Butte, Cripple Creek, Dacono, Del Norte, Denver, Dillon, Durango, Eaton, Edgewater, Englewood, Estes Park, Estes Valley, Evans, Federal Heights, Firestone, Florence, Fort Collins, Fort Lupton, Fort Morgan, Fowler, Foxfield, Fraser, Georgetown, Gilcrest, Glenwood Springs, Golden Greeley, Greenwood Village, Gypsum, Hudson, Idaho Springs, Johnstown, La Junta, La Plata County, Lafayette, Lamar, Larimer County, Leadville, Lochbuie, Lone Tree, Longmont, Louisville, Lyons, Manitou Springs, Mead, Milliken, Minturn, Monument, Mountain View, Nederland, New Castle, Oak Creek, Pagosa Springs, Palisade, Parker, Platteville, Pueblo, Rifle, Rocky Ford, Salida, San Luis, Severance, Sheridan, Silt, Silverthorne, Snowmass Village, Steamboat Springs, Sterling, Superior, Thornton, Timnath, Weld County, Westminster, Wheat Ridge, Windsor, Woodland Park, Wray.


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Correspondence to Catherine Brinkley.

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Brinkley, C., Kingsley, J.S. & Mench, J. A Method for Guarding Animal Welfare and Public Health: Tracking the Rise of Backyard Poultry Ordinances. J Community Health 43, 639–646 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10900-017-0462-0

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