24 March 2022

For Immediate Release

Contact: Karen Davis 757-678-7875; karen@upc-online.org

United Poultry Concerns Urges Tractor Supply Company to Stop Selling Chicks & Ducklings

Practice Encourages the Spread of Avian Influenza and Salmonella Bacteria to People and Birds

MACHIPONGO, Va. March 24, 2022 /PRNewswire/ – Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza is sweeping the country, including backyard birds, reports the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

United Poultry Concerns, a nonprofit organization promoting the compassionate care of domesticated fowl, is calling upon the Tractor Supply Company to stop carrying live chicks and ducklings in its stores – a practice that contributes to the spread of disease.

Poultry factory farms and transport methods, added to traditional farming practices, live bird markets, cockfighting, and the wild-caught bird trade, have created the conditions responsible for the spread of avian influenza (bird flu) viruses capable of infecting birds and humans alike. Backyard-poultry keepers and their birds are not immune to this contagion, as shown in How Infected Backyard Poultry Could Spread Bird Flu to People.

Salmonella infection of backyard birds, children, and adults is also a significant risk. More and more children have egg allergies and complications of seasonal flu. The risk of infection, said Dr. Pascal James Imperato of the State University of New York’s Health Sciences University, in 2009, is “especially high for young children who come into contact with baby chicks and ducklings.”

Despite these risks, parents regularly bring their children to Tractor Supply stores to handle and buy the birds as if they were toys, responding to the company’s “Chick Days” promotions.

United Poultry Concerns (UPC) is urging Tractor Supply Company to stop selling these birds. Typically shipped by airmail, the newborns arrive at the stores in a fragile state of food and water deprivation and extreme stress. Many are dying or are already dead.

As an employee wrote to UPC on March 7, 2022:

“The birds come by mail with many squashed to death. The sick ones suffer by themselves in the back of the store in a separate tub. … Parents buy them for their kids and the kids handle them to death, literally.”

Says Karen Davis, president of United Poultry Concerns: “The stresses they endure weaken the birds’ immune systems, making them particularly vulnerable to avian influenza and Salmonella infections. At the store, they receive little or no care, and often lack fresh food or water. Often their food and water bowls are filthy, as reported by customers and employees. It is time for Tractor Supply Company to act responsibly and stop selling living creatures and encouraging the spread of poultry diseases.”

For more information, visit United Poultry Concerns at www.upc-online.org.

Assorted Ducks
Tractor Supply Company store, 2021.