I wanted to offer a belated "attaboy" to Salem City Council for showing a bit of the wisdom of Solomon in its recent chicken flap (I couldn't resist that). I wrote some unflattering words about council's lack of conflict on the issues recently. I see conflict as necessary in government and "being nice" as counterproductive to good government.
This time, though, that solidity helped avoid a truly stupid decision, one that would have made keeping chickens in the city limit illegal. This should not only be legal, it should be encouraged, as much as gardens should be encouraged for those who can have them.
My Raleigh Court neighbor Dewey Houck (the greatest neighbor anybody ever had) raises 11 little brown chickens and they have become a neighborhood delight. The children flock (pardon, again) to them and adults are introduced to an animal we may well have either forgotten or never got to know.
Chickens are friendly, social little animals who are curious and affectionate. Except for the roosters, which can be as noisy as a barking dog (now there's an issue, if you need an issue), they are generally quiet, clucking contentedly.
Chickens in their natural state are not white, wobbly-legged, dull-eyed with four-pound breasts. That is what we eat and it is a travesty that we would distort one of god's creatures for our own oversized bellies. Agribusiness chickens are kept in conditions that are best described as "inhuman," but that only begins to tell the story of how we have become insensitive to the world around us, considering only our needs and how best to meet them.
Salem Council's decision, whether or not it took into account any of these issues, avoided the prospect that this small town with rural roots would listen to one or two of its idiot citizens and do the very thing it should not do. Good work boys and girls.