United Poultry Concerns March 19, 2003

Tell the USDA to Stop Reimbursing Cockfighters with U.S. Tax Dollars

“The compensation amounts are a ‘very private and personal thing’ between bird owners and the government, said Adrian Woodfork, a spokesman for the combined state and federal Exotic Newcastle Disease Task Force.” - The Californian, 3/15/03

Although cockfighting is a crime in California and 47 other states, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and California Department of Food and Agriculture are using taxpayers money to indemnify cockfighters who kill “game” birds suspected of exotic Newcastle disease (END), an infectious avian virus being fought with gross inhumaneness at taxpayers’ expense to protect the poultry and egg industry. Responding to a Freedom of Information Act request, government officials told The Californian (Bakersfield, CA, 3/15) that bird owners get between $5 and $1,850 per bird but “refuse to explain how they calculate the compensation and who has received how much for their birds.”

It’s been reported that $2 - $5 tax-dollars per bird is the “fair market value” being given to owners of hen flocks being destroyed under California’s END eradication program, whereas $1,000 to $2,000 is the “fair market value” being given to owners of birds bred and used for cockfighting, “an illegal sport suspected of contributing to the rapid spread in Southern California, Arizona and Nevada of the highly contagious virus” (Californian, 3/15).

Urge U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman to stop reimbursing cockfighters (“game fowl breeders”) with taxpayers’ money, and to endorse the Ensign-Allard-Cantwell (Senate) and Bartlett-Andrews (House) legislation that increases interstate commerce in birds intended for cockfighting to a felony offence.

The Honorable Ann Veneman
Secretary of Agriculture
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20250
Phone: 202-720-3631
Fax: 202-720-2166

Make the same request to your Members of Congress. To learn who your House Representative and Senators are, call the Capital Switchboard at 202-224-3121 or go to

United Poultry Concerns is a nonprofit organization that promotes the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl.


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

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