Raising Livestock in Urban Agriculture

Urban agriculture provides individuals the opportunity to engage in agricultural production for their personal use and can benefit the community. Many individuals cultivate a wide array of produce that provides security and sovereignty in their community. These individuals acquire so much more than food on their plate but, an understanding and appreciation of the development of food in their own communities and the networking of the citizens of the area. Through the years, individuals have developed creative ways to grow produce and raise livestock; acting as a symbiotic reliance to aid in the sustainability of their production. Raisers of livestock can use the manure for fertilizer and byproducts (milk, hair/wool, meat, etc.) as a means for profit. However, with the presence of livestock in an urban or city location involves more stipulations (Urban Agriculture, n.d.). This made me question if there are more laws for livestock production than in crop cultivation.

Many individuals seeking livestock raising in an urban environment, seek to understand the regulations and laws of their areas. There are many items to consider. Such what type of livestock can I raise in accordance with the zoning laws? Is there a noise ordinance? Are there any specifications in the local laws about composting or odor? Is there a specific quantity of animals per parcel or acre of land? Is there a regulation where the animal(s) need to be a specific amount of feet or yards from the local residences? If the animal(s) produce a product for consumption which would require a cottage food operation?

There are many types of animals to be considered for urban agriculture such as- goats, rabbits, sheep, equine (horses and donkeys), pigs, poultry (chickens, ducks, turkeys, & geese), bees, and fish (Tilapia). These animals can produce byproducts; for example goats can be used for meat, organic matter, as well as for dairy products.

Livestock production in urban agriculture farming is where most of community conflict arises (Urban Agriculture, n.d.). There are several types of laws that affect the livestock production-zoning laws, animal welfare laws, public health laws, and nuisance laws. The maximum number of animals is combined with all animals on the premises whether they are pet or for production. There also needs to be a distinction between the small and large animals to determine the unit number for the land/parcel. A major concern is the rights and welfare of animals. If animals are mistreated it is a felony under the California Penal Code 597; subject to imprisonment and a $20,000.00 fine (Clark et. al., n.d.). Animal rights are of major concern; individuals must provide adequate space, sanitation, free of pain and suffering, and humane treatment. There are strict regulations in some cities with the processing of livestock; they are to be brought to specific certified slaughterhouse chosen by the city. Sanitation is a component of Public Health Laws as it prevents zoonotic disease transmissions from the livestock to the citizens. Animal control agencies charge individuals for a livestock permit. Zoning laws can be viewed as one of the difficult laws to abide by as there are stipulations that must be met to prevent extreme noise, traffic, parking issues, number of animals, and the type. Additional permits may be required depending on the area along with registration and renewal with CDFA, business license, Seller’s Permit, Employer Identification Number, home occupation permit if at the residence, and worker requirements (compensation insurance, wages, and registration (Clark et. al., n.d.).   

Some livestock products are time sensitive to prevent pathogenicity development, they are not considered as a Cottage product but, fall in the FDA Food Code Section 3-501.17 Ready-to-Eat, Time/Temperature Control for Safety Food, Date Marking (FDA Food Code Section 3-501.17 Ready-to-Eat, 2019). There are strict stipulations with cold storage and consumption before the expiration date. The intent is to consume the product before the potential bacterial or pathogen development- Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes, etc. The products that are considered as “Raw Agricultural Products” include- eggs, meat, and dairy products whereas other livestock products may require a cottage food operation permit such as honey (Agriculture Ombudsman, Cottage Food Operation, n.d.).

There are more items to consider when deciding on livestock in an urban agriculture setting. There are not only regulations for the products of the animals but, zoning, nuisance, public health, animal welfare, animal rights, etc. If these laws are not adhered to, there are chances of fines, imprisonment, and animals being taken away. These laws and regulations aid to the determination of what area to establish the farm, what animals are permitted, the products that can be produced, and influences the business operation. Livestock do tend to have in a sense, more regulations and the owners have more responsibilities they must uphold to keep their stock when compared to cultivation of produce. This is due to the potential hazards and nuisance to the locals and consumers as well as the health impact and treatment of the animal needs to be considered; there are rules and stipulations for the humane way to treat livestock.


Agriculture Ombudsman, Cottage Food Operation (n.d.). University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources. https://ucanr.edu/sites/CESonomaAgOmbuds/Value_Add_Products/Cottage_Food_Bill/#list

Clark, A., Esandari-Qajar, Y., & Pallana E. (n.d.) Animals and Livestock. UrbanAgLaws.org. http://www.urbanaglaw.org/animals-and-livestock/

FDA Food Code Section 3-501.17 Ready-to-Eat, Time/Temperature Control for Safety Food, Date Marking. (2019, May 30.). U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Retrieved October 30, 2020, from                 https://www.fda.gov/media/127796/download#:~:text=Section%203%2D501.17%20specifies%20ready,C%20(41%C2%B0F)%20or

Urban Agriculture (n.d.). University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources. Retrieved from                 https://ucanr.edu/sites/UrbanAg/Production/Animals_and_Bees/

One thought on “Raising Livestock in Urban Agriculture

  1. Searchers/Synthesizers

    Urban Livestock. (n.d.). Retrieved November 08, 2020, from https://www.planning.org/knowledgebase/urbanlivestock/

    This reference has some further information that is relevant to this topic being discussed. There are several details that describe how to regulate livestock being raised in urban areas. There are also several additional references that can be found at the end of the article that would be helpful too. This article explains how many animals are allowed in the space as well as what types of animals are not allowed to be raised in the area. This article also has information on permits that should be held when keeping animals in an urban setting.


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