Environmental Concerns Top Objections to Arlington Chickens

Concerns about Arlington urban agriculture initiative

By WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
|  Monday, Apr 16, 2012  |  Updated 9:49 PM EDT
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Environmental Concerns About Arlington Chickens

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Backyard hens' waste would head right for the Chesapeake Bay.

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Government leaders in Arlington, Va., are considering a proposal to ease restrictions on backyard hens.

As county leaders press forward with an urban agriculture initiative that would, among other things, allow backyard hens in Arlington, many residents say they are concerned about germs and disease. Specifically, residents wonder about what happens to all that chicken waste.

George Mason University biology professor David Luther said the main public health risk from chickens is water pollution.

"Just like with dog poo, for that matter, the accumulation of all these extra feces and then when it rains a lot they drain out into local creeks," Luther said.

Unlike human waste, which goes through a water treatment facility, chicken waste in Arlington will head straight for the Chesapeake Bay, which is already grappling with excessive pollution.

Complete story at wamu.org

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