United Poultry Concerns
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9 February 2015
Sick Chickens
UPC Letter in The New Yorker, Feb. 16, 2015.



Karen Davis Responds to “A Bug in the System,” The New Yorker, Feb. 2, 2015.

In 1987, the U.S. Department of Agriculture official William H. Dubbert told a poultry symposium at Colorado State University, “We know more about controlling salmonella than we are willing to implement because of the cost factor.” In 2007, an article in the trade publication WATT Poultry USA said, “We all know that pathogens of all forms, such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses, are everywhere in the animal-production environment and will remain, regardless of techniques adopted.” The poultry industry’s response is to bathe the birds after slaughter in a wash of chlorine and other potentially toxic substances, including peracetic acid. Conditions will worsen as the global scale of production increases. If you pack creatures into filthy, sunless places and provide them with only “feed-grade” ingredients—a primary source of salmonella, avian influenza, and other diseases—sickness will follow.

Karen Davis
President, United Poultry Concerns
Machipongo, Va.

hens crowded in a chicken house
Delaware “broiler” chicken house. Photo by David Harp.

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