Urban Livestock in Oakland
Highlights from a Preliminary Survey of Ownership and Management Practices
By Esperanza Pallana and Nathan McClintock
EBUAA, Pluck and Feather, UrbanFood.org
As public interest in urban agriculture spreads rapidly across the country, city officials are attempting to amend outdated municipal codes to reflect this growing trend. In many cities, planners are updating zoning codes to reflect changing land uses and activities, including the production and sale of agricultural products and the keeping of urban livestock such as chickens, geese, ducks, goats, pigs, rabbits, and bees. Over 20 US cities (including Cleveland, San Antonio, Kansas City, and Seattle) have recently passed ordinances to support and regulate the keeping of urban livestock. A zoning update for urban agriculture in Oakland is currently underway.
A handful of recent studies have examined the implementation and impacts of these policies, as well as how municipalities have navigated tensions associated with allowing livestock in cities.1 Findings show that ordinances allowing urban livestock have neither led to an increased burden on city services, nor an increase in the volume of complaints.
Nevertheless, some basic questions remain about the actual practices of urban dwellers keeping livestock as pets and/or sources of food. Our June 2011 survey of 134 respondents from across the United States — including 36 from Oakland — seeks to provide a snapshot of what urban livestock ownership and management “looks like” in Oakland and the 48 other cities represented in the survey, 11 of which have undergone recent ordinance updates to regulate livestock. The survey answers some of these questions.
Read the complete report here. (If you have trouble seeing the PDF, try saving a copy to your hard drive and opening it in a PDF reader, Mike)