September 26, 2019

Chicago Livestock Action Alert (2)Right now, Aldermen Lopez (15th ward) and Napolitano (41st ward) are pushing an ordinance to severely limit livestock in your backyards and neighborhood farms. This ordinance – introduced without meaningful community input – hinders the ability of Chicago residents and urban farmers to grow and raise their own food through fees, fines, and unnecessary burdensome regulations. This ordinance also puts animal welfare organizations at risk for caring for abused animals, if they shelter roosters or exceed the limit on livestock. Together as urban agriculture and animal welfare advocates, we oppose the Chicago Livestock Ordinance, O2019-7576. Join us in contacting your Alderman, as well as Ald. Lopez and Ald. Napolitano, to oppose this ordinance.

Current regulations protect Chicagoans’ right to raise backyard livestock and practice urban farming that is humane to animals and respectful of neighbors. Existing City of Chicago ordinances already address the potential public health, nuisance, and animal welfare concerns related to raising small farmed animals. The ordinance will create unnecessary regulation by banning roosters, capping the total number of fowl at six and other livestock at two, only allowing single-family or two-flat residences to keep livestock, and levying fines up to $500 per day for permit violations – all without consideration for lot size.

If enacted, this ordinance will threaten the ability of many of our city’s residents and urban farmers to raise their own food and put them at financial risk with costly fees and fines. In addition, the ordinance infringes on the rights of residents by unduly limiting what animals they can keep. These animals are critical community members, offer hands-on ways to learn about ecology and food (in homes, schools and daycare centers), and provide organic pest control and fertilizer, companionship, and other environmental benefits.

We have worked together for years to create a supportive system for Chicago’s thriving home and community gardens, urban farms, and livestock keeping. These activities are critical to healthy food access, ecological health, and workforce development in our city. Community education and networking is often more effective than blanket regulation to prevent and solve potential problems. We look forward to collaborating with the Lightfoot administration on our major priorities, including equitable land access, affordable water access, ecological resilience, stronger animal protections, and clear business licensing for urban farms.

Please contact your Alderman today to oppose the proposed ordinance O2019-7576. Please use this template and tell your Alderman to VOTE NO on these proposed changes and to support community-developed urban agriculture and animal welfare solutions.


Advocates for Urban Agriculture
Ancona School
Chicago Animal Save
Chicago Food Policy Action Council
Chicago Roo Crew
Chicagoland Chicken Enthusiasts
Home to Roost
Illinois Environmental Council
Little Village Environmental Justice Organization
The Humane Society of the U.S.
Urban Growers Collective