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Aldermen talk about chickens and emus for more than an hour and a half today.

Kelly Sikkema | Flickr
You won't be able to keep emus in your backyard in St. Louis - the Board of Aldermen defeated a measure on Friday allowing that.

Though the age-old question remains unanswered (you know, the chicken-egg thing), it is certain that urban agriculture will not be expanding in St. Louis any time soon.

The Board of Aldermen soundly rejected Scott Ogilvie's measure on Friday that would have boosted the number of backyard chickens allowed from four to eight, and let residents keep sheep, goats and emu on larger lots.

Supporters took the defeat mostly in stride

Roll call

  • Ayes - Aldermen Ingrassia, Green, Spencer, Ogilvie, Cohn, Krewson
  • Nays - Aldermen Tyus, Flowers, Bosley, Hubbard, Conway, Ortmann, Villa, Arnowitz, Murphy, Howard, Baringer, Roddy, Davis, Vaccaro, Carter
  • Present - Alderman Kennedy
  • Did note vote - Aldermen Moore, Coatar, Vollmer, French, Boyd, Williamson, Pres Reed.

"We've gone too far in this direction of saying food comes from some other place," Ogilvie said. "I think some nice things happen when you understand that whole process of where food is coming from."
But 19th Ward Alderman Marlene Davis and many of her colleagues wanted residents to be able to say yes or no to more livestock.

"We represent them. They choose to live in the city, they choose to have ownership in the city, they choose to pay taxes in the city, and that's the least I can do to protect them," she said.

The debate lasted nearly two hours.

To no one's surprise, Alderman Tom Villa, of the 11th Ward, posed the question everyone wanted answered.

Livestock-based tongue twisters became a thing.

Lobbyists for the Associated General Contractors and the realtors had some fun with memes.

At least one St. Louis resident had gotten a little ahead of himself.

And one alderman apparently got inspired by all the poultry-based discussion.

Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.