United Poultry Concerns 27 February 2003


From HSUS's 2/27 Humanelines:

In California, illegal cockfighting is claiming victims beyond those killed in the fighting ring. More than three million chickens and other birds, including birds at southern California factory farms, have been ordered killed by federal and state authorities in response to an outbreak of Exotic Newcastle Disease (END), a highly contagious avian disease thought to have been introduced into the area by California's huge illegal cockfighting industry.

The San Diego Tribune (2/22) reports that the workers at one factory farming operation, the Ward Egg farm, put 30,000 "spent hens" through a woodchipping machine, after their hands became tired from wringing the chickens' necks. This method of killing was reportedly authorized by a USDA consultant. Ironically, USDA is spending tax dollars to compensate cockfighters for the "depopulation" of their gamecocks, rewarding them generously for engaging in a practice that is illegal under federal and state law.

It's time for the USDA to halt its outrageous payments to illegal animal fighters and to start enforcing the federal anti-cockfighting law. Had USDA been vigorously enforcing laws against animal fighting, it is likely that END would have not become so widespread. In a February 20 letter to USDA Secretary Ann Veneman, The HSUS urged Veneman to not only implement stronger enforcement of anti-cockfighting laws, but also to support new legislation to increase penalties for violating the federal cockfighting law. (To read more on this issue, see: )

1. Add your voice to those asking Secretary Veneman to immediately take steps to ensure enforcement of federal cockfighting laws, and to publicly endorse the Ensign-Allard-Cantwell (Senate) and Bartlett-Andrews (House) legislation to increase federal penalties for animal fighting.

The Honorable Ann Veneman
Secretary of Agriculture
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, D.C. 20250

2. Contact the San Diego County District Attorney's office and ask them to investigate and prosecute credible evidence of massive violations of California's animal cruelty law (which prohibits subjecting any animal to needless suffering or unnecessary cruelty) at the Ward Egg Farm.

San Diego County DA Bonnie M. Dumanis
330 W. Broadway, Suite 1300
San Diego, CA 92101
ph: 619-531-4040
fax: 619-237-1351

United Poultry Concerns, Inc.
PO Box 150
Machipongo, VA 23405-0150
FAX: 757-678-5070

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