United Poultry Concerns August 30, 2005

State of New York Department of Agriculture and Markets Responds to UPC’s Letter of June 24, 2005

Re: the Ely Street Live Poultry Market in the Bronx, New York City

The following two letters dated July 6 and July 27, 2005 respectively were sent to United Poultry Concerns via regular mail from the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets which oversees live animal markets in the state of New York. We have retyped and posted these letters (copies of which are available on request) as part of our investigative campaign to shut down the Ely Street Market and to expose the conditions that prevail in this market and similar live animal establishments of which this market is an example. The Ely Street market and others like it facilitate the spread of the avian influenza virus.

The video "Inside a Live Poultry Market," referred to in the letter from Bruce L. Akey, DVM below, reveals the inhumane and unsanitary conditions inside the market, the exposure of children to the brutal practices and attitude of the adults therein, and the sale of live birds, rabbits and other animals to any customer who walks into the market to purchase a live animal, however miserable, sick, starving and dehydrated. Birds leaving the market alive may be used for whatever purpose, be it kitchen slaughter, ritual torture, cockfighting, resale, dumping, or release in Central Park. The majority if not all of these animals come from untracked locations in several states and exit the markets to destinations unknown – this despite the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets’ stated concern about the spread of avian influenza from these very causes (see the last paragraph of Bruce Akey, DVM’s letter).

Here are the two letters from the department to which UPC responded on August 10, 2005. Our response is posted right above this document in this Live Markets and Auctions section of our site.



10B Airline Drive, Albany, New York 12235



July 6, 2005

Karen Davis, PhD


United Poultry Concerns, Inc.

PO Box 150

Machipongo, VA 23405

Dear Ms. Davis:The information concerning a Bronx, New York live poultry market that you forwarded to Dr. Susan Trock, NYS Department of Agriculture & Markets, Division of Animal Industry was forwarded to my attention in order for me to respond to you on behalf of the Department’s Division of Food Safety and Inspection (FSI).

Since December 22, 2003 when your video was taken, FSI conducted 22 food safety inspections at the Ely Avenue live market of which 11 were categorized as failing inspections. All of our inspections are unannounced. A number of warning letters, two monetary penalties, and an Industry Compliance session were enforcement actions that were taken by us against this firm.

Our last inspection conducted at this firm has revealed critical deficiencies and we will follow up at this establishment until the firm comes into compliance.


Joseph Corby








518-457-3502 Fax 518-485-7773

Karen Davis, PhD

President, United Poultry Concerns, Inc.

P.O. Box 150

Machipongo, VA 23405

Dear Ms. Davis:

We are in receipt of your letter dated June 24, 2005, a video produced from footage taken over 18 months ago at a live bird market in New York and an accompanying letter signed by Dr. Holly Cheever

Since that time the market at Ely Avenue has been inspected 11 times by DAI inspectors, five of which were unannounced. The remaining six site visits were to inspect the live bird holding areas after scheduled cleaning and disinfecting procedures.

Since December 22, 2003, the market at Ely Avenue was issued a warning letter regarding failure to document cleaning and disinfecting procedures (inspection June 2004). An inspection on August 18, 2004, found birds that were from an unapproved source for which a fine was issued. Inspections on January 29, 2005 and March 7, 2005, documented empty, dirty transport crates at the market facility.

Individuals witnessing alleged cruelty as Dr. Cheever avows in her letter have the redress of involving local officials to investigate such claims. Article 26 provides for constables, police officers or any agent or officer of any duly incorporated society for the prevention of cruelty to animals to investigate complaints of such cruelty. In this case the local authorities that should have been contacted to investigate are the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) in New York City if the individual operating the camera felt that they were observing animal cruelty.

In your letter you cite NYCRR Part 45 which indicates that you are familiar with this regulation. Section 45.6 (b)(2)(e) states that "No live poultry shall be moved from a poultry market, unless specifically authorized by the commissioner of agriculture." We raise the concern that toward the end of the video you apparently document illegal movement of four live birds from the market facility. Whereas this may be tempting for those involved with animal rescue organizations, the regulations are in place to prevent the spread of avian influenza through movement of potentially exposed or infected birds. Such movement can only place other birds later exposed to these birds at risk for disease and is in clear violation of the regulations.


Bruce L. Akey, MS, DVM

Asst. Director/Asst. State Veterinarian

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

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