Georgia Right to Grow Act sparks debate - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Georgia Right to Grow Act sparks debate

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By Jim Wallace - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –Some state lawmakers want you to be able to grow any crops or raise any livestock for food no matter where you live.

It would mean goats,  sheep, or chickens could show up in your neighborhood.

Most cities have ordinances against that now.  But the bill pre-filed in the State House would prevent local governments from having those laws.

The idea is that many people are hungry and fighting to keep food on their table. The Georgia Right to Grow Act would allow them to produce their own food, no matter where they live. And that could really have a big effect on your lifestyle.

People who work and live on Pine Avenue in downtown Albany know about chickens living in the city. Wild chickens crow constantly.

Mike White said "If I lived here, they'd have to go. I'm not going to listen to that."

If the Georgia Right to Grow Act passes, state law would prohibit local governments from enforcing ordinances to prevent people from keeping chickens. Some people say it's OK.

Ray Brigham said "I do not see why just a rooster waking them up in the morning would be the only thing. They don't bother anything."

Bill Moore raises sheep, and says they don't belong in city neighborhoods.   Moore said "They are noisy and they are stinky. So if they were right next door to me and started bleating in the nighttime, I think I'd be fairly annoyed."

Albany City Commissioner Jon Howard says this proposed bill could cause problems.

Howard said "I think you can agree with a backyard garden, but when you want to bring in livestock and chickens and things of that nature, that's not kosher."

No one wants to see people going hungry, but some people say raising farm animals in neighborhoods is not the answer.

White said "My neighbors wouldn't have sheep and goats or anything else, because they wouldn't be my neighbors anymore. I'm not going to live next to something like that."

This proposed bill could really pit neighbor against neighbor if it becomes law.

Bill Moore, says trying to raise your own sheep to save money would not be cost effective. He says between the cost of buying sheep, feed, and slaughter and dressing, there is no way you could raise the animal cheaper than just buying the meat at the store.

Like most cities, Albany has an ordinance that prohibits raising any livestock in the city , including goats, sheep, cattle, pigs, and domestic fowl.

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