Live Chickens Sold at SF Farmer's Market

Stroll through the Heart of the City Farmer's Market at Civic Center, and you might hear a faint clucking and flapping sound coming from behind an unmarked blue tarp.

That's the Young family's poultry, nestled alongside the fruit and vegetables that typically comprise such markets. They sell about 600 chickens each day, according to the Ex, but animal welfare activists want them out.

According to complaints, the Young's facilities are dirty and inhumane. Chickens are stuffed into paper sacks, which are then stapled shut. Customers often bring the animals home on transit.

It's one of the only places in the city where you can buy live poultry. There are a few other spots in Chinatown, but they've dwindled in number over the years.

Both the Youngs and the city say that they're in compliance with regulations. But whether or not those regulations are sufficent to protect the animals from abuse is up for debate.

Although most of the birds are probably purchased for meat, backyard chickens have been enjoying a resurgence in popularity recently. The city allows residents to keep up to three chickens, provided that they have adequate shelter and sanitation.

Roosters are forbidden, due to noise and aggression.

But the Young's birds are not suitable for pets. They've had minimal human handling, so they're unlikely to be friendly and wouldn't get along well in a domestic setting.

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