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

July 23, 2001
Contact: Karen Davis 757-678-7875
VA Poultry Protection Group Urges Senators Allen and Warner to Vote Yes On Leahy-Fitzgerald Amendment to Agriculture Appropriations Bill

Machipongo, VA - The Virginia-based national animal advocacy organization United Poultry Concerns is urging Virginia Senators John Warner and George Allen to support the Leahy-Fitzgerald amendment to the 2002 Agriculture Appropriations Bill, S. 1191, introduced by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Peter Fitzgerald (R-IL). This amendment will bar the USDA from purchasing eggs to be used for the School Lunch Program from producers who use the starvation practice known as forced molting

Forced molting is the practice of depriving laying hens of all food for 3 to 14 days or more to manipulate egg production. This cruel starvation is so stressful to the hens that it disrupts their natural immunity, predisposing them to Salmonella enteritidis infection of their ovaries and their eggs. On July 13, Los Angeles Times writer John Balzar called the U.S. egg industry's " periodic starving of chickens to stimulate greater egg production" a "horror."

A USDA study published in 1995 found that force-molted flocks in a Pennsylvania Pilot Project produced eggs positive for Salmonella enteritidis twice as much as non-molted flocks for a period up to 140 days - 4 ½ months - following the forced molt. Forced molting is so inhumane that McDonald's and Burger King have announced they will prohibit their egg suppliers from using it on their flocks. In 1998, the USDA-Food Safety & Inspection Service wrote that it was "encouraging egg producers to eliminate forced molting practices and adopt alternatives that reduce public health risks." However, 80% of the egg industry continues to starve their birds and subject the public to the risk of Salmonella-infected eggs. The Leahy-Fitzgerald amendment will considerably reduce that risk to the nation's school children.

Children are in the highest-risk category of susceptibility to Salmonella enteritidis food poisoning severe enough to cause death, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

"A YES Vote by Senator Warner and Senator Allen for the Leahy-Fitzgerald amendment is a vote for our children's health as well as for animal welfare," says United Poultry Concerns president Karen Davis. "Eggs are a major source of Salmonella food poisoning, and forced molting is a big reason why. When a child comes down with 'stomach flu,' it could be that School Lunch eggs from starved Salmonella-ridden hens are the culprit."

United Poultry Concerns is a national nonprofit public information animal advocacy organization promoting the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl. For more information, visit our web site at www.UPC-online.org

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