Taylor_E_Frankenstein’s chicken: Understanding local opposition to industrial broiler farms


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Beyond the Edge: Australia's First National Peri-urban Conference
La Trobe University
Oct 2013

Published in: Technology, Real Estate
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Taylor_E_Frankenstein’s chicken: Understanding local opposition to industrial broiler farms

  1. 1. FRANKENSTEIN’S CHICKEN: UNDERSTANDING LOCAL OPPOSITION TO BROILER FARMS Beyond the Edge: Australia’s First Peri-Urban Conference, La Trobe 2013 Dr Elizabeth Taylor McKenzie Post-Doctoral Research Fellow Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning University of Melbourne
  2. 2. Chicken consumption in Australia 595,700,000 chickens p.a.
  3. 3. Chicken production types
  4. 4. Broiler system
  5. 5. Peri-urban conflict “The question is how to reconcile the starker reality of, say, broiler chicken production, with the cosy images of a ‘rural idyll’” (Gilg 1996 quoted in Henderson 2005 p110)
  6. 6. Early conflict and regulation: backyard chook banished Early regulations Larger operations, 1930s-1960s • Nuisance and public health • Larger operations on urban laws: late 19th century • By-laws: 1915 and 1921 Local Government Acts • Deterring urban back yard and small-scale operators fringe • Issues with odour, health, vermin, urban conflict
  7. 7. Planning appeals 1969-1997 Issues: Odour, noise, flies, vermin, traffic, residential amenity, tourist areas, buffer zones
  8. 8. Modern broiler farm regulation • Zoning: prohibited in urban, • • • • • • • discretionary in farming and green wedge 52.13: must comply with Broiler Farm Code of Conduct Minimum separation distances based on farm size ‘Classes’ based on size and separation Avoiding or managing amenity and environmental impacts Conditions for odour, noise, dust, run-off, composting, etc. Pre-emptive exclusion of ‘sensitive uses’ Allowing industry growth
  9. 9. Planning appeals 1998-2013 Issues: Odour, pollution, noise, visual amenity, rural-residential areas, concentration, ‘sterilisation’, classification
  10. 10. Size of farms over time
  11. 11. Technical solutions • “Thus while many of the concerns raised by the objectors suggests a need to look at the adequacy of the Broiler Code requirements, that is not our role. Our role is to determine whether this code has been complied with, as is required and as we have explained above”. (Catani 2012). • “Residents…nonetheless, on hearing Dr Cowan’s evidence…remained concerned about the impacts of the proposal. In this regard Mr D’Oliveyra advised that the residents do not have the expertise or the resources to verify evidence of the technical nature that was presented by the two experts at the hearing”. (Beeac 2009). • “[Proponents claim that] existing and proposed boundary buffers will be more than adequate to minimise any odour emissions. Superior technology is already implemented for the existing sheds…Inspections by Shire Officers have proven that any odours in area have not originated from the broiler farm – although the farm is routinely blamed”. (Nar Nar Goon 2007)
  12. 12. Role of spatial regulation Creepiness Amenity problem Increased size & technology Regulatory response
  13. 13. ‘Stop monster chicken factory’ • Odour dust etc. can be • • • • managed technically Less so image control: factory farming not comfortably marketed Conflicts with rural-residential expectations Land use conflicts also channel uncomfortable emotions Mix of Not In My Back Yard (NIMBY) and Not On Planet Earth (NOPE)
  14. 14. Responses to broiler farms NIMBY Grief / horror NOPE
  15. 15. Frankenstein’s broiler chicken • “It's not just a few chickens, it’s close to two million a year!” (Pakenham Gazette, 2011) • “Accursed creator! Why did you form a monster so hideous that even you turned from me in disgust?” (Frankenstein) • “The ruthless efficiency, the relegation to a place out of sight, the sordid and undramatic lining up for mass slaughter; these are things we recognize only too well – when we think of them. And we prefer not to think of them for long”. (Visser 1986 p145).
  16. 16. Key references • Gaynor, (2012) “Fowls and the Contested Productive Spaces of Suburbia”, in Atkins, P. (2012). Animal Cities, Farnham : Ashgate Publishing Ltd, 2012. • Henderson, S. R. (2005). "Managing land‐use conflict around urban centres: Australian poultry farmer attitudes towards relocation." Applied Geography 25(2): 97‐119. • Huxley, M., (1984), “In Search of ‘The Good Life’: Being a Political Economy of Certain Local Government By‐Laws within the Metropolitan Area of Melbourne, Victoria”, Urban Policy and Research: 3(1). Contact • taylor.e@unimelb.edu.au