Friday, May 29, 2015

Secret Backyard Chickens Found in Midland Ontario

A secret cache of backyard chickens was discovered in Midland Ontario, under the care and control of a Midland Municipal Councillor, Pat File.
Ms Pat File, Midland Councillor, was alleged to have been
harbouring fugitive chickens in her backyard, contrary to
Midland Municipal Bylaw 98-42.  When confronted with
this allegation, the Midland Mirror reported that Pat File
confessed to being involved.

The Midland Mirror originally published the story on May 15, 2015 2:35 PM EDT at Fortunately, Google cached the story 28 minutes after it was posted, because the Midland Mirror deleted the story shortly thereafter. 

After significant work, SFPFC's Investigative Cub Reporter was able to find and retrieve the article, and makes the full version available here, and a cleaned up version (easier to read) here.

Why is this story important enough to dredge it up from the swamp of dead stories?

Backyard chickens is a growing trend throughout Canada.

In this case, a Municipal Councillor is associated (even though when caught, she disavows responsibility and blames her spouse) with those backyard chickens.

We therefore learn that the chickens are wanted, but being in violation of a Municipal By-law is not a comfortable place to be for a Councillor.

Of course, that Councillor blames the By-law as being unreasonable, not their behaviour contrary to the By-law.  The Midland By-law 98-42 was passed by Council in 1998, 17 years ago.  I assume there was no By-law before that, so backyard chicken was likely OK in Midland before that.

Araucana breed of chicken from
South America before the arrival
of Christopher Columbus
Perhaps Midland's First Nations people had traded for Araucana chicken from South America pre-Columbus in 1492.  More certain, white settler and their chickens have been in the Midland area since 1639 (Sainte Marie Among The Hurons).  So we conclude that backyard chickens were OK for at least 359 years, then made illegal for 17 years and counting.

Will Councillor Pat File ensure this loss of freedom for backyard chickens will soon come to an end?

Hopefully, with time, all Municipalities will re-assess their overly restrictive rules on backyard chickens.

People have the right to feed themselves, and backyard chicken helps ensure affordable food security.

SFPFC supports locally produced food, including backyard chickens in every municipality in Canada.  Do you?


  1. As a resident of Midland and a friend of Pat File, I fully support her, and everyone else's, right to have chickens in their backyard. With proper regulations and controls in place for being a chicken owner, this would work and provide local eggs for people. The bylaw restricting this activity should be done away with.

    1. I agree.

      Councillors have learned the hard way that nothing riles up taxpayers more than issues of domestic pets (eg. cats, dogs), and backyard chickens.

      No matter how unreasonable the current Bylaw may be, they don't want to touch it nor discuss it.

      Self preservation is a powerful force.

      Only facts, presented over time, and a safe haven will accomplish the removal of these needless, damaging, and unnecessary By-laws.

      As a last resort, it may be necessary for a Community Crusader to run for office, get the By-law changed, then slowly fade back into private life.


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