United Poultry Concerns
Promoting the compassionate and respectful
treatment of domestic fowl

PO Box 150 Machipongo, VA 23405-0150
(757) 678-7875 * FAX (757) 678-5070

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 14, 2000 Contact: Karen Davis 757-678-7875

Science Shows :When Hens Are Starved Salmonella Soars

Machipongo, VA - United Poultry Concerns submitted Comments today challenging FDA's Egg Safety Plan. Far from being the "comprehensive plan" it claims to be, the provisional Plan ignores farm practices that scientists have identified as a major cause of Salmonella enteritidis in hens and their eggs.

Salmonella will continue to rage as long as the egg industry maintains the practice of starving hens for 5 to 14 or more days at a time. The practice, known as forced molting, is illegal in the UK and the European Union, and is not done in Canada. The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association issued a position statement this year condemning forced molting "involving deprivation of food and/or water" because "such deprivation is sufficiently severe to compromise animal welfare."

US Department of Agriculture studies have shown that the "traumatic physiological impact" of total food removal results in a significant increase in Salmonella infected hens and eggs. While unmolted hens have to ingest 50,000 Salmonellas to become infected, force-molted hens need fewer than 10.

The "Thinking Papers on Egg Safety" ignore the fact that the USDA and Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture conducted field studies of 31 flocks from May 1992 to May 1994 which showed that molted flocks "produced SE-positive eggs twice as frequently as non-molted flocks for a period up to 140 days"-4 1/2 months-following the forced molt.

Government scientists (Nicholas, et al.) say their studies "show that a prevalent industry procedure [forced molting] has a substantial effect on the severity of an SE infection." According to The Washington Post, April 30, "When hens are denied food, the researchers have found, their immune systems become weakened, leaving them more vulnerable to the salmonella bacteria."

United Poultry Concerns is calling upon the FDA and USDA's Food Safety & Inspection Service to include the elimination of forced molting as a critical component of their final National Standards for Egg Safety.

For more information contact Karen Davis at 757-678-7875.