By Connor Lynch
NORTH HURON — The township of North Huron in Huron County has been duking it out with two local farmers over how many animals they’re allowed to have on their farm.
The township has a bylaw restricting how many animals there can be per acre, but the Nutrient Management Act, a provincial law, specifically states that the number of livestock on a farm can’t be restricted.
The two Amish brothers, who farm together, allegedly exceeded the limit. After an anonymous complaint and no less than seven visits to the property by the chief building inspector, the farmers found themselves squaring off against council in court.
According to a legal review requested by Huron County’s planning department, the provincial law trumps. The bylaw that limited the number of farm animals on certain small parcels “appears to be inoperable,” since it conflicts with the Nutrient Management Act, according to the review. “Municipal bylaws are required to be silent on the keeping on the keeping of livestock in Agricultural Zones.”
Toronto-based environmental lawyer Eric Gillespie said that municipalities may be able to make rules, but the only power they’re allowed to have is what the province or federal government gives them.