I’m a bit surprised. For several years now I’ve been blogging regularly about LGBT equality and related issues. I’ve always been prepared for pushback, and ill-informed and bigoted commentary directed at me for those posts. I live in Visalia, after all, and a profile blurb I wrote says, in part, “A liberal gay atheist living in the heart of central California’s Bible belt, surrounded by oranges, walnuts, dairies and Republicans.” The responses to most of those blogs pales, however, when compared to the fury unleashed when I dared to comment that I thought goats and chickens should not be raised inside city limits. As bad as anti-gay zealots get, they’re not too far ahead of the pygmy goat and chicken crowd!
Here’s what I said: “Tulare County is 4,800 square miles. Visalia is 32. Pick a spot in the county to raise your goats and chickens, and leave those of us who don’t want farm animals over our back fence in peace!” Well, you’d have thought I had suggested killing kittens, from the responses that followed.
Gingi said, “You advocate controlling what others may do on their private property? Should we also create kid-free zones (some don’t like kids) or Christian free zones or dog free zones…? When an animal abides by all pre-existing noise, trespass, health and all other ordinances… why the bigotry against this particular animal???”
Guido said, “You got the money to move us all to land that’s american …otherwise were stuck in the bush obama neverland without a paddle free eggs are more important than your feelings sorry buddy“, and “Your property rights dont trump others just because paid for politicians have brainswashed and incorporated this whole country dosnt mean your neagbors will cave …keep it up and your gas car will be banned in the city lol you want a gas car pay up and drive in the designated roads lol …..they came for the chicken owners ..I was not a chicken owner so I did not speak up”
Gingi invited me to the Farmers Market, to “meet” some goats. I replied, “Gingi, I don’t need to see the goats, I know they’re cute as cute can be, but I still don’t want farm animals across my back fence in the city. Goat and chicken lovers need to respect the rights of their neighbors to be free from farm animals, and raise their little menageries out in the country, where they belong. 4800 square miles vs 32. You have plenty of options that don’t include my back fence.”
Then things got a bit… well, rude.
Michelle chimed in with “I‘m going to move next door to you Jim and I’m going to have 4 dogs in my backyard and I’m going to let them bark all day long just for you.”
Susan chimed in with “Jim get your facts straight“. (“Straight”? Really? I would have preferred “Jim, get the facts”, but oh well)
Gingi returns with “I think the person craving complete isolation from society (dogs barking, kids shrieking, sirens wailing, music, people, animals,etc. etc.) is the one with the burden of where to live. No amount of self-righteous busybodying gives you the right to tell your neighbors how to live or what to eat. 4800 square miles of isolation or 32 of community living. You pick”
Where this idea of “complete isolation from society” came from I don’t know, but certainly not from anything I wrote. But, then again, we’ve long ago left rationality and logic behind.
Jessica has finally reached her limits with the discussion, and says “the whole basis of your argument is flawed. If you want quiet you should be in favor of banning dogs. If you want odor control you should be in favor of banning dogs and cats. Etc. you clearly want is the ability to dictate what your neighbors do. Which sorry to tell you, you can’t. If you are so concerned about the actions of neighbors somehow bothering you I’m curious to why you chose to live in a communal setting such as a city. Seems you’d be better suited for the 4800 square miles you seem so crazy about. Then again I’m not sure why I’m wasting my time typing to someone who I can’t help picturing as the noisy, busy body neighbor Gladys from Bewitched. “Abner! Abner! The neighbors are being self sufficient and behaving in ways a can’t control!“”
Of course, I hadn’t said anything about cats, dogs, odor or noise, but that’s irrelevant, right?
Katie has a calm statement, and a point, “I don’t think anyone is trying to control anyone else. So far, people are expressing opinions I personally don’t consider 2 hens to be farm animals. It’s sort of an empty argument when you live down in the valley with a half million dairy cows that can be smelled from 10 miles away.” (You’d think Tulare County would be wealthier, with the ever-increasing “smell of money” permeating our air.)
Gingi, again, “LOL, I like how he’s ignoring my valid questions / arguments so he can indulge in the cyber version of sitting on the porch and shaking a stick at the “darn kids“.”
Guido went and checked my Facebook profile, and was shocked, shocked, I tell you… “Omg look at his profile what a hipocrite …you cant expect rights of you attack others buddy”
Jessica thought Guido scored big time with his comment, “After Gingi’s comment I swear I could hear her dropping the mic. And I definitely could hear myself shouting “Burn!”
Gingi mistakes my having to leave the conversation to go to work for, “LOL, Jim is running out of arguments. Look, everyone is entitled to an opinion buddy. You have yours and thats great. But please stop pretending you have a leg to stand on as far as rational arguments go. Minis aren’t loud. They don’t stink. They don’t effect property value. They would not hurt or harm you in any way. You are simply bigoted against mini goats, we got that. You think your personal preferences for pets outweigh my rights as a property owner and my rights as a parent feeding her children. Just say, “I don’t like goats.” and move on, no need to keep making a fool of yourself. For someone who crusades for LGBT rights, you are crazy intolerant of people and lifestyles different than your own, despite the overwhelming evidence that the “other” is not as scary or different as it seems, aren’t ya?“
My LGBT activism somehow means I have to stand with the “underdog” (undergoat?), no matter the cause. As if legal equality and sanctioned repression were somehow equivalent to where you can raise goats and chickens. Sorry, it doesn’t work that way. The only way there would be a valid comparison is if some people in the city were allowed to have goats and chickens, and others were not, and the distinction between who could and who could not was simply based on some arbitrary history, such as “those people have always been allowed to raise goats and chickens! It’s the natural order of animal husbandry!” When your goat/chicken regulations are based on such distinctions, we’ll revisit the idea of what constitutes “intolerance” and “bigotry”.
Pygmy goats. Hens. What’s next? (yes, I know… “slippery slope”. But if the anti-gay crowd gets to indulge in such nonsense, then so do I) After all, miniature horses and pigs have their ardent supporters, too. Why should they be excluded? We might not eat or milk the horse, but the pigs have to worry about becoming bacon, so they qualify under the “food freedom” banner. Anyone interested in a llama? Maybe an emu. I wonder if they taste like chicken?
As I said in my comment, Tulare County is 4800 square miles. Visalia is 32. The “country land is too expensive” claim is a ruse, as there are plenty of rural areas where home and land prices are depressed, compared to other places in California. City lots are not cheaper than country lots, and farm animals should be out on a farm. A ten by ten enclosure for a goat is not exactly the good life for an animal, and that’s all the proposed ballot initiative calls for. The chickens do even worse, although comparatively they get a better deal than the goats.
I don’t have anything against goats and chickens. They are farm animals, however, and should not be confined to a back yard, nor should people who choose to live in the city be subjected to having them across their back or side fences.
If you dare to speak out against the idea, be ready for the invective that will be directed your way. I’m lucky, in a way. My LGBT activism and advocacy braced me for the response, even if it was a bit unexpected. After all… chickens and goats. Oh my.