TBT^2: Egged Off

Longtime reader fridrix commented a couple of weeks ago that was “[l]oving how you nest these annual pieces like matryoshka dolls.🪆”  While casting about for a TBT post, I couldn’t resist more matryoshka-esque nesting, and eggs seem quite similar to the pear-shaped Russian dolls.  Surely we’ve all nested little plastic Easter eggs into bigger plastic Easter eggs, no?

This post was itself a throwback to a 30 April 2021 post about excessive officiousness in the enforcement of laws that, while they may serve a purpose, are typically of no great harm to anyone.  The original post dealt with two little girls who in Texas who had their roadside egg stand shut down due to lack of proper licensure and oversight from the local government and the State’s health department (if there is any government more odious than various departments of health—the dreaded SC DHEC here in South Carolina—I can’t think of it).

Since then, eggs are even more expensive, yet many municipalities—including my own—don’t allow the raising of chickens inside town limits.  I find this restriction extremely short-sighted and, well, stupid.  In broaching the subject (mildly) with my fellow councilmembers, I found some reserved support, but the one member who took the time to respond to me at length worried about—you guessed it—health concerns.

I’ve noticed something, and it’s not an original insight:  we’re not longer a society premised on “ask forgiveness, not permission.”  Everything is restricted now, and it’s always because of the worst-case scenario.  People are worried about chickens getting out due to irresponsible owners (never mind that stray cats will take care of any stray chickens quite quickly).  Why should we calibrate all of our policies to the lowest common denominator?

Sure, you’re going to have someone who will raise the chickens poorly, or not pen them properly, and it will create a nuisance.  But most people who will take the time to build or buy a coop, purchase hens, buy feed, and all the rest are not going to risk their flock with reckless abandon.  They’re going to take proactive steps to protect their investment.

The positive good of lots of cheap eggs—and the ability to distribute them liberally to neighbors—outweighs the possible risk of one or two bad eggs—pardon the expression—letting their Bantams roam the streets (if the stray cats don’t get them, the speeding motorists will—ah, the circle of life).

With that, here is 5 May 2022’s “TBT: Egged Off“:

Shortly over a year ago I wrote a piece about officious bureaucrats shutting down two little girls selling chicken eggs in Texas.  The girls were trying to help people out and make a few bucks after the crazy ice storm massively disrupted Texan supply lines.

Since then, I’ve obtained a source to bring farm fresh eggs to my home on an as-needed basis; it’s one of many small blessings for which I am thankful.  With food prices even higher than they were a year ago, free eggs is a huge boon.

I ended this post with the admonishment “The time to start growing and raising our own food is now.”  But even yours portly has largely ignored his own advice.

Let’s work on changing that in 2022.

With that, here is 30 April 2021’s “Egged Off“:

An unfortunately perennial story that always gets traction here on the Right goes something like this:  precocious youngsters, hoping to engage in some earnest enterprise, start selling lemonade or the like from a roadside stand.  The kids are doing well and making good money (for kids), until an overzealous local health board official sends in the cops to bust up the lemonade stand.  Like Treasury Department revenuers smashing up a yokel’s still, these local officials destroy children’s dreams—and sometimes slap them with a fine.

It’s a story that guarantees outrage, and highlights the clueless, stringent rule-following of bureaucracies.  Yes, yes—technically you’re not supposed to sell lemonade and hot dogs without some kind of license, and the health department is supposed make sure your establishment is clean.  But these are kids, selling stuff on the side of the road.  Why bother?  Let them have fun and make a little money.

The latest such story involves two young ladies selling eggs in their town in Texas.  The Lone Star State has been reeling since the major winter storm hit a month or so back, and food supplies have been disrupted.  Having some backyard eggs for sale surely helped out some locals.

Unbeknownst to the girls—but beknownst to some overweening Karen, no doubt—a local ordinance prohibits the selling of eggs, though it permits the raising of chickens on one’s property.  That’s asinine.  Why can’t people sell eggs in a small town in Texas?

I’m sure the local government would argue it’s to protect the safety of consumers—a convenient cover.  Chances are it’s an effort to keep the local poultry plant or egg farm dominant; at a more sinister level, it could be an attempt to prevent people from enjoying self-sufficiency.

That might sound conspiratorial, but consider:  Oregon’s State Legislature is considering a law that would ban the raising of livestock and other animals for food.  Under the guise of preventing animal cruelty and abuse, this law would effectively destroy the livestock industry in Oregon.

Perhaps even more importantly, it would deprive Oregonians of the opportunity to raise their own cattle or other animals for food.  The self-sufficiency homesteading movement is enjoying a revival lately, with many Americans seeking to limit their reliance on “The Grid” in favor of sustainable, small-scale agriculture.  That presents a direct threat to overly powerful local and State governments, not to mention the federal government:  if people are growing their own food, they’re much more difficult to control.

These kind of liberty-killing ordinances and State laws must be resisted and repealed at every turn.  There are few reasons, much less good ones, for why people shouldn’t be able to grow their own food.  Sure, I can see some problems with a person living on a half-acre lot raising a cow in a densely-packed neighborhood, but what’s wrong with keeping a few chickens and eating or selling the eggs?

The time to start growing and raising our own food is now.


5 thoughts on “TBT^2: Egged Off

  1. Chickens wander the streets of Key West and don’t seem to be an issue. They don’t seem to proliferate like bunnies. Maybe Hemingway’s cats keep them in check.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You’ll find in my experience that laws outlawing the raising of chickens and/or selling the eggs there from tend to be found in rural-adjacent suburban areas. I’m pretty sure it’s all based upon anti-rural bigotry, which seems quite common in suburban areas near farms.

    Contrariwise, in many urban environments, it’s OK to do so. In NYC (!), it perfectly legal to raise chickens unless your neighbors start complaining about it too much (Only outlawed if proven to be a nuisance), and nobody is going to bust you for selling some of your stoop or on the corner.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think you’re correct. Columbia, South Carolina—our State capital, but by no means New York City!—allows the raising of chickens on private property throughout the city. If Columbia can do it, surely we can. I suspect here it is more over concerns of noise from roosters, but, honestly, roosters are not all that annoying. I hear one crowing in the mornings sometimes in the distance, and it actually adds a certain bucolic feel to the atmosphere—it feels real.


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