Hens pecking near privacy fences and milk goats bleating greetings to overflying airplanes are the hip urbanite’s bucolic dream, but the city homesteading movement has a dark side, reports E Magazine (January/February 2012), as rescue centers become overrun with abandoned livestock. From a homeless goat wandering a Brooklyn park to a container of chicks left by a trash bin with a note reading “Please love us,” farm animals are being forsaken by clueless city dwellers in record numbers, and animal humane societies do not have the facilities to house them. A handful of humane societies–such as New York’s 23-acre Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary and Oregon’s 54-acre Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary–take unwanted poultry and goats, but even they are stretched thin. Minnesota’s Chicken Run Rescue has experienced a 780 percent increase in rescue requests.
Metropolitan homesteaders are encouraged to think hard before they leap into livestock husbandry, and to consider adopting a rescue animal from a local shelter. It also seems high time for someone to develop a city-to-country program to funnel cosmopolitan livestock to rural poultry farms and working goat barns for their golden years.