Upper Canada College Grade 11 students and twin brothers Andrew and Matthew Patel made headlines two years ago when the City of Toronto said it was going to crack down on urban chicken coops. Now, after city inspectors recently visited the boys’ backyard coop and threatened them with a by-law violation, they’re further publicizing their plight by entering a three-minute video in the CNN iReport Ethical Eating Competition.
You can watch the video and read about the Patel brothers’ case for raising urban chickens and challenging the city’s by-law here.
“We have been very active in our chicken keeping hobby and have recently been ‘caught’ by the city,” says Andrew. “The city has come to visit for a ‘site inspection’ and we have retained two lawyers that will help us challenge the by-law in hopes of overturning it.
“We have not been charged with this offence yet, and the city has indicated they will not charge us as minors, but instead will lay a charge on our parents.”
The Patel brothers spoke to the Eco-Warriors at UCC’s Prep School in November about having small-scale chicken coops in Toronto. This resulted in the Prep Urban Chicken Coop (PUCC) project, which has a goal of being granted an exemption to the by-law that would make it possible to legally house hens on campus.
The Prep boys came up with an action plan that includes: raising awareness about the campaign among students, teachers and parents through articles, assemblies, class presentations and other events; producing a letter of support for the campaign with signatures from Prep students, parents, staff and faculty members; submitting a report to the City of Toronto by June that explains the possible benefits and logistics of keeping urban hens at the Prep; and applying for an exemption to Toronto Municipal Code, Chapter 349, Article II that prohibits the keeping of hens in the city.