Abbotsford Spreads Chicken Manure In City To Rid Itself Of The Homeless

UPDATED 05/06/13 13:02 – City of Abbotsford employees have spread chicken manure over land within city limits used as a camp for the homeless. According to advocate for homeless, James Breckenridge, this is but the latest in a series of tactics used by the City in an apparent effort to keep the homeless moving.

UPDATED 05/06/13 15:37
Ministry of the Environment Reacts
David Karn, GCPE Environment, Government of British Columbia, told Abbotsford Today, “This is a city issue. If there’s a health concern I suggest you contact the Ministry of Health.”

UPDATED 05/06/13 14:50
Breaking News: George Murray Apologizes For Chicken Manure Homeless Incident
Abbotsford’s City Manager George Murray has apologized for actions by City staff which lead to chicken manure being spread across land inside City limits being used by homeless people as a camp.

FHA Reacts:
Contacted regarding this story the Fraser Health Authority had this to say:
“Spreading chicken manure on farm land is a common occurrence in Abbotsford and is often used to prepare a field for farming.

“The potential impacts on public health are low if it is done according to code. Some issues that need to be considered are:

  • Protecting the vulnerable aquifer
  • Ensuring the spread of the manure occurs at a reasonable distance from homes
  • Those responsible for spreading the manure should wear protective equipment and follow the codes of conduct

“If there is a concern that this activity is occurring outside common agricultural practice, the Ministries of Agriculture and the Environment should be alerted.*

* Today Media is seeking comments and further information from The Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of the Environment, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Mayor Banman and City Councillors. We will update the story as we hear back from each of the above.

This Stinks
By James Breckenridge. This Stinks.
04/06/13 19:45 pm
The most recent steps on the path to this wickedness began about six days ago when City employees, as part of the city’s ongoing war on the homeless, stopped by a local homeless camp. The city truck, brought along to cart off any belongings the homeless failed to rescue, contained plunder from prior stops at other homeless camps.

I was working on the words to speak, once again, about the utter pointlessness of trying to cleanse the city of the homeless when the city has failed [or been successful in denying] to provide a viable housing alternative to camping for the homeless, when the city employees and truck returned the next day.

And the next day, and the next day, and the next day …

After being driven from spot to spot around Abbotsford like nuisance animals [think the rabbits at the University of Victoria] several Canadian citizens who unfortunately have found themselves members of Abbotsford’s homeless community, had come together at a common location.. Being together provided the ability to have someone to guard their belongings and prevent the city hitting the camp when no one was there to rescue belongings.

The location also provided access to people who would help maximize the belongings rescued from the city and has a sanctuary nearby to which any belongings rescued could be taken.

Hence the need for the city to return day after day after day after day………….

I decided not to write anything until revelation of the city’s next tactic, once frustration with the failure of the homeless to disappear drove the city to escalate to a new level.

Today the city’s frustration reached the exploding point .

I have, and have had, differences with the decisions of Abbotsford’s mayor and council and the consequences the decisions have had, the burdens they imposed, on Abbotsford’s taxpayers.

Even so I would never have expected, would never have anticipated, Abbotsford’s mayor and council sinking so low.

The City did not sow the earth with salt. Instead the city sowed this patch of earth with a covering of chicken waste – AKA chicken shit.

What is the next step? Capturing the homeless and having the Abbotsford Police Department transport and release them in some non-Abbotsford locality?

And when the homeless find their way home, and Abbotsford is their home, will council decide to follow the University of Victoria’s example and cull them?

I am not sure that either option would necessarily be worse than the contempt, the depraved indifference, of using chicken shit as a weapon, a chemical weapon I suppose, against the homeless

I know the spring of 2004 was nearly a decade ago but did nobody remember the need for a cull of 1.3 million birds on 42 infected properties.

Speaking of culls, why did nobody reconsider the use of chicken shit as a weapon in light of the 27.5% death rate in China’s current outbreak of bird flu? A flu transmitted to China’s citizens from China’s chickens?

I wonder how Fraser Health’s local Health Protection Office and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency will view Abbotsford’s deployment of their chicken shit weapon?

Of more concern is the consequences of the city ignoring the fact that this noxious material was spread across [on] a major thoroughfare used by the homeless. As a consequence this material has been being tracked throughout Abbotsford since it was spread.

Given the ethical bankruptcy of this action and the callous disregard of negative health consequences the bylaw officers, bylaw manager and city manager have achieved a level of incompetence that demands their replacement.

With the need for a by-election to fill Simon Gibson’s council spot, it will not cost any more to replace the members of council responsible for this twisted action.

You ignore reality and keep acting without thought for a long enough period of time and simple mathematical probabilities mean it is only a matter of time until you do something truly asinine.

James Breckenridge HeadshotJames Breckenridge
James Breckenridge is a former chartered accountant and advocate for the homeless from Abbotsford BC. He has written extensively on the topic of homelessness in BC’s Bible Belt most recently in a feature called – Abbotsford’s Obsessive Compulsive Treatment Of The Homeless.

He can be reached at

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Join the discussion 72 Comments

  • Meghann says:

    Good piece James.

    Just when I think the city couldn’t sicken me anymore…

    For all of the Christian representation on council I wonder if they’ve considered the fact that this is NOT what Jesus would do.

    Bring me your meek, your weary….. so we can cover their camp with chicken shit & take their possessions.

    It’s so completely sad.

  • The Editor says:

    Sobe Daya Says: OMG how low can the city go? This sickens me! Absolutely sickens me!

    From Facebook:

  • Meghann Coughlan says:

    If that chicken manure isn’t composted properly it can spread salmonella like wildfire. Where are they getting it?

  • G says:

    I got physically ill reading that..

    That makes me so so sad..

  • Notsheeple says:

    Well done, while your at it why dont you kick them around a bit, teach them to be poor and desperate in our rich overpriced country and communities (sarcasm of course). While the rest of us honorable, and respectable Canadians are trying our best to help the homeless, the local governments are doing their best to run them into the ground. Lets press charges against these low life bureaucrats, an apology is not going to cut it. Isnt there a law in BC that says you cant dump waste in a city? Couldnt we use their own bi laws, or enviromental waste laws to prosecute? They should be fired at the very least, or if there is a lawsuit, a court order to help the homeless..

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