Regulating backyard slaughter: Strategies and gaps in municipal livestock ordinances

Blecha J
Department Author(s)
Journal Title or Book Publisher
Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development
Publication type

Blecha, J (2015).  Regulating Backyard Slaughter: Strategies and Gaps in Municipal Livestock Ordinances.  Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development.  


As the alternative food movement continues to grow and urban homesteading practices spread, many cities are revising their codes to more clearly address agriculture activities. Butler’ (2012) study demonstrated a set of fairly coherent strategies for regulating the keeping of poultry and livestock. Related to livestock keeping, livestock slaughter appears to be spreading as well. The regulation of backyard slaughter, however, has scarcely been addressed in the literature. Building on Butler’s study, this research examines the animal policies in 22 cities and has identified five approaches to governing backyard slaughter. Many of the cities do not address the  practice at all, and in others significant gaps and inconsistencies leave the regulations open to interpretation. Drawing on examples from the 22 sample cities, the final discussion considers whether and how municipalities have chosen to regulate backyard slaughter, and suggests that policy makers have a range of regulatory options for meeting local priorities, whether those are reducing nuisances, protecting public health, or addressing animal well-being.