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Due to a new ruling from Michigan’s Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development, residents will lose their right to keep livestock on their own property.
On April 28th, 2014, the commission ruled that local governments have the right to ban livestock from any area zoned residential in the state. The action will, according to Gail Philbin of the Michigan Sierra Club, “effectively remove Right to Farm Act protection for many urban and suburban backyard farmers raising small numbers of animals.”
The Right to Farm Act is a state law designed to protect farmers from nuisance lawsuits and zoning regulations. These small protections, and allowances, have melted away under the decision of the commission that the Right to Farm Act does not apply to homeowners who keep small numbers of livestock
Kim White, who raises chickens and rabbits, said “It’s all ‘Big Farm,’ and it’s ‘Big Farm’ deciding against the little farm. They don’t want us little guys feeding ourselves. They want us to go all to the big farms. They want to do away with small farms and I believe that is what’s motivating it.” Goats, chickens, and bee hives could be banned on properties where there are 13 homes within 1/8 mile of a property containing livestock, or another home within 250 feet of the property, under the commission’s ruling, Michigan Public Radio reported.