Putting the fair in fairgrounds
Aug 31 2003 12:00AM
By KATHERINE MORRIS
OF THE REGISTER-PAJARONIAN
The pens and stables are clean, the 13,000 marigolds are in full bloom and the
giant plastic chicken is in its place - all signs that the 108th Santa Cruz
County Fair, scheduled to run from Sept. 9-14, is ready to go.
After last year's record turnout of 80,000 attendees, fair organizers and
volunteers are hoping to repeat, if not increase that success, by offering a mix
of old-fashion fair favorites and newer, more contemporary items and events.
"I'm hoping that people will want to spend two or three days with us this year
because there's so many things to see and do that there's no way you'd be able
to see it all in one day," said fair manager Judith Panick.
Some of this year's additions include a 10,000-gallon sea lion tank, a dairy
exhibit courtesy of the Watsonville Ag History Project and a special
"featherless" poultry show, which is running in lieu of the usual live chickens,
geese and ducks on hand.
"Because of Exotic Newcastle Disease, we are unable to have any live poultry at
the fair this year," Panick said. "Instead, we've had local children create
educational pieces on the disease as well as poultry sculptures, which look
great! We'll even have a clucking soundtrack playing so people will walk into
the building to the sound of chickens."
As always, fairgoers can enjoy nightly musical performances on the main stage
from bands like The Grass Roots and Eric Burdon and the Animals while filling
their bellies with a variety of grub and beverages.
"It's amazing, but some people actually plan their week at the fair out around
the food and what they're having for dinner," Panick said with a laugh.
The fair also provides a unique opportunity to catch a glimpse at the hobbies,
interests and talents of Santa Cruz County residents. The entire interior of the
Crosetti Building is dedicated to displaying artwork, crafts and collections
from local residents.
"We've gotten more entries than ever in most categories," Panick said. "It's
really been going gang-busters and we've run out of room when it comes to
displaying hobbies and collectibles. We've even got this great collection of
sand that this woman has gathered from all over the world. We've also got almost
100 more photo entries than we had last year."
Panick also said there are so many interesting stories that local people have to
share through their artwork and displays.
Despite the current bleak economic picture, Panick said the fair has tried to
keep prices low and reasonable and hopes people will come out and support it.
"Last year, we let in about 12,000 children for free," Panick said. "We always
let children ages 4-and-under in free and on Wednesdays children are free. We
also host special education days for school kids."
Panick said the fair strives for an affordable, fun, safe place for families and
"I think we've really developed a good reputation on that," Panick said. "We've
got people who went on their first date here or met here and are not married.
We've got families that have been coming here for three or four generations.
We're also one of the last places that families can come and push their babies
around in strollers at 11 p.m. at night and feel completely safe.
"We provide a fun, event-filled place for people that's cheaper than going to
The fair also has a tremendous financial impact on the community and local
businesses such as hotels, shops and restaurants.
A study by the California Department of Food and Agriculture found that the
county fairgrounds generated roughly $9.6 million in local economic activity and
created 128 jobs. It also helped local nonprofits raise more than $94,000.
"Many of our hotels are filling up for that week," Panick said. "Businesses that
offer lodging, food, gas, our nonprofits, all benefit from this. It's the
biggest fund-raiser for many of these groups that they have all year. The fair
has so many economic and social benefits for community."
The Santa Cruz County Fair runs from Sept. 9-14 at the Santa Cruz County
Fairgrounds. For a complete listing of events, check out
www.santacruzcountyfair.com or check the special tab in the Register-Pajaronian
on Friday. Presale tickets are available at local Safeway stores.
Tri-Valley Herald, CA
Article Last Updated: Saturday, August 30, 2003 - 3:24:55 AM PST
This year's gathering not for the birds
Fair officials chicken out of raptor display
By Matt Carter, STAFF WRITER
PLEASANTON -- The sheep dogs are back, but birds of prey aren't welcome at this weekend's Scottish Gathering and Games.
The games, which take place today and Sunday at the Alameda County Fairgrounds, feature traditional Scottish athletic events and culture.
In recent years, the games have featured a display of falcons and hawks as part of an exhibit on falconry -- a sport widely practiced during the Middle Ages in Scotland and other European countries.
But fears about a disease that's ravaged California's poultry industry have grounded plans for a display of birds of prey, also known as raptors.
But birds of all kinds were banned from fairgrounds around the state this year following an outbreak of exotic Newcastle disease.
The highly contagious disease threatened the state's chicken and egg industry and, after it was detected in October, officials destroyed more than 3 million birds. In March, the California Department of Food and Agriculture banned all public exhibitions of poultry statewide.
Although the California Department of Food and Agriculture believes that exotic Newcastle disease has been almost completely eradicated, "nothing should be taken for granted," a recent advisory warned.
"The infectious nature and hardiness of this disease is an ever-present reality, and we should all continue to take precautions to avoid the reintroduction of the disease."
Falconers petitioned the Alameda County Fair Association to lift the ban on bird exhibits at the fairgrounds, arguing that raptors like hawks and falcons were unlikely carriers of exotic Newcastle disease.
The Fair Association, saying it feared having the fairgrounds placed under quarantine, denied the request. State officials told the Fair Association that any bird can be a carrier of exotic Newcastle, and warned that raptors in Southern California had tested positive for the disease.
"Because any bird can become infected with (exotic Newcastle disease), we continue to discourage all bird exhibitions, including raptors," state veterinarian Dr. Richard Breitmeyer said in a letter to the Fair Association.
A spokesman for the non-profit that puts on the Scottish games, Jerry Jardine, said the birds of prey exhibit is a nice added attraction that is very popular "with a select group of people," but that its absence won't hurt the games.
"There area so many things happening over the weekend," Jardine said. "Some people come just to see the five-a-side soccer tournament, or the caber toss, or the clan tents. The birds of prey, in my estimation, are a nice added attraction."
Although birds won't be part of this year's games, fears about hoof and mouth disease have waned enough that the popular sheep dog trials will again be part of the games. In recent years, livestock owners did not want to expose animals used in the trials to the public for fear they would become infected.
Wisconsin Ag Connection, WI
Veterinarians Called to Help Respond to Foreign Diseases
Wisconsin Ag Connection Editors - 08/21/2003
The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture's Animal Health Division is launching
one of the nation's first cadres of private practice veterinarians, who will
help detect and respond to foreign animal disease outbreaks. The agency will
begin recruitment in September for the Private Veterinary Corps, or PVC.
Veterinarians are invited to daylong seminars September 12 and 19 for an
introduction to the corps.
"In just the past few years, we saw how foot-and-mouth disease rocked the
economy of the United Kingdom, we're seeing the effects of 'mad cow disease' on
trade between the U.S. and Canada, and we're still recovering from the outbreak
of exotic Newcastle disease in California," said Acting State Veterinarian Dr.
Robert Ehlenfeldt. "Private veterinarians had a key role in detecting and
combating those diseases, and today have a new role in the fight against
possible terrorist threats facing agriculture and our food supply."
Ehlenfeldt says veterinarians also have an ongoing role in responding to animal
emergencies resulting from unintentional, intentional or naturally caused
disasters -- tornadoes, floods, chemical spills.
The PVC is funded by a federal Homeland Security grant. Members of the PVC will
receive training in how to spot and report potential foreign animal diseases and
in the incident command system, which is a method of organizing people and
resources to respond to emergencies. The department is working with the
University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine, Wisconsin Emergency
Management, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Wisconsin Veterinary Medical
Association to provide training.
The Desert Sun, CA
Living Desert prepares to re-open
Quarantine for Newcastle disease has been lifted
By Lou Hirsh
The Desert Sun
August 21, 2003
Next month, visitors to the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Desert will
again get to see the zoo's diverse collection of herons, egrets, vultures and
other non-native birds in a way they haven't been able to since January -- up
close, in its two walk-in aviaries.
"The walk-through bird exhibits should be open again sometime in September,"
said Kevin Leiske, the zoo's head veterinarian.
The planned re-opening of the popular tourist attraction's aviaries is among the
earliest signs that things are returning to normal, now that state agriculture
officials have lifted much of the multi-county quarantine imposed last fall in
response to an outbreak of exotic Newcastle disease in chicken flocks.
The Coachella Valley is no longer in the quarantine zone. In fact, about 84
percent of the zone was rescinded earlier this month by the California
Department of Food and Agriculture.
Virulent: Authorities say they are close to completely eradicating exotic
Newcastle, a highly virulent disease that affects many bird species but is most
often found in chickens.
"By the end of the year, the quarantine will likely have been lifted for the
entire area that was affected," Adrian Woodfork, a spokesman for the CDFA's
Newcastle response program, said this week.
Woodfork said California has spent about $158 million on containment efforts
since the quarantine was put in place last fall, including $30 million paid in
compensation to egg farmers and chicken breeders for birds that had to be
Just over 3 million chickens have been destroyed since last fall, although no
case of Newcastle has been found since May. No cases are known to have been
identified in the valley.
Nationwide -- with Newcastle also being found in Texas, Arizona and Nevada --
containment efforts have cost $188 million, including $31.1 million in
compensation to farmers, Woodfork said.
The California agriculture department said all of San Diego, Santa Barbara and
Imperial counties have been thoroughly tested and are no longer in the
Still under quarantine are limited portions of Los Angeles, San Bernardino,
Riverside, Orange, Ventura and Kern counties.
The quarantine zone at one time covered 46,000 square miles. It is now down to
7,300 square miles.
Restocking: Woodfork said ranches can begin restocking to replace birds that had
to be destroyed, but farms remaining in the quarantine area must still submit to
compliance checks every 10 days. Biosecurity measures remain in place at feed
stores and other chicken sellers that serve wide areas in and outside the
The quarantine originally was imposed on commercial chicken farms and backyard
breeders, but was extended in January to include zoos, pet stores and other
facilities handling exotic birds. Newcastle disease poses no danger to humans,
but humans can be unwitting carriers through shoes and clothing.
Bob Krauter, a spokesman for the California Farm Bureau Federation, said a
well-coordinated response by authorities helped limit damage to the state's
poultry and egg producers.
"The industry overall has held together pretty well throughout this ordeal,"
Fallout: He added that the official response also helped prevent major fallout
for consumers. Egg suppliers from the state's Central Valley and other areas
were able to offset the loss of egg-laying chickens within the quarantine zone.
The area that was quarantined accounts for about 60 percent of California's egg
The Newcastle outbreak, the first since 1971, caused short-term fluctuations in
consumer egg prices but otherwise produced no lasting price spikes, Krauter
MORE ON THIS STORY ...
Containing exotic Newcastle disease
State authorities recently announced a significant reduction of the quarantine
zone that was established last October in response to the finding of exotic
Newcastle disease in a backyard chicken flock. Cumulative statistics are through
Staff assigned to containment: 486
Number of premises quarantined: 2,714
Premises depopulated: 2,148
Commercial premises affected: 22
Birds humanely destroyed: 3,016,000
Premises released from quarantine: 15,722
Wisconsin Ag Connection, WI
Texas Ends Quarantine for Exotic Newcastle Disease
USAgNet Editors - 08/18/2003
The Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) released quarantine restrictions on bird and poultry movement have been released in Socorro, in El Paso County, officially bringing to a close the Exotic Newcastle Disease (END) outbreak in Texas that was first detected April 9, 2003. It may take time for U.S. trading partners to accept Texas poultry products.
This spring, nearly 800 flocks in El Paso and surrounding counties were tested, and about 2,000 diseased or exposed backyard birds were euthanized to stop the spread of the END virus, which does not affect human health or food quality, but is deadly to birds.
"In April and May, quarantines restricted bird movement within and from El Paso and Hudspeth Counties in Texas, and from Dona Anna, Luna and Otero Counties in New Mexico, while teams from the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC), New Mexico Livestock Board and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) worked to wipe out the disease," said Dr. Bob Hillman, Texas state veterinarian and executive director for the TAHC, the state's livestock and poultry health regulatory agency. "By June 5, confident that the disease had been wiped out, the state and federal quarantines were reduced to a few blocks within Socorro, where the infection had been detected. As of Wednesday, August 13, this last quarantine was released, and poultry and birds can be moved without restriction."
Dr. Hillman said that, even though END is officially wiped out in Texas, it could still affect the state's ability to trade internationally, at least for a while. "END is a foreign animal disease, and although it struck only backyard birds in Texas and no commercial operations, some 13 countries either placed additional restrictions on our poultry products or banned the products until we could prove Texas was disease-free," he pointed out.
"Our trading partners have the prerogative to decide when they'll again accept Texas products. Some countries may accept poultry within a few weeks; others may enforce a longer waiting period." "We have fared well, however, considering the damage END can do," commented Dr. Hillman. He pointed out that in southern California, more than three hundred veterinarians and animal health inspectors continue to battle an END outbreak, which has affected hundreds of backyard flocks and 22 commercial poultry farms.
San Diego Union Tribune, CA
Flocks of noisy parrots find homes in S.D. areas
By David E. Graham
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
August 17, 2003
They squawk loudly as they perch in the trees of a Point Loma neighborhood at dusk.
Wings aflutter, beating fitfully, the large birds fly among tall palms in Ocean Beach, yielding a glimpse of a verdant green breast and a red head.
In Escondido, at the Circle of Quiet Bed and Breakfast, they gather in orange trees around daybreak and squawk and eat oranges to the enjoyment of the guests.
The birds, wild parrots, hold the fruit in one claw and peel it with the other, said owner Julie Lyon. Sometimes they fly with the fruit, inevitably dropping it, she said, adding, "They're just like circus clowns."
Wild parrots gather in groups of one or two dozen in communities across the county. They are distinctive for their loud calls and rapid wing beats. In recent years, they have become one of the most visible and audible kinds of birds here.
But it is something nature never intended.
The birds, which live in Mexico and elsewhere, are not indigenous to this area, said ornithologist Phil Unitt of the San Diego Natural History Museum, but a wild population has been established here since the mid-1980s, accelerating in recent years.
Theories abound on how the birds found a new home here, some even becoming urban legends, such as the tales of a mass escape from the zoo or the pet store that burned to the ground.
Unitt said the birds that delight and annoy are progeny of random groups of captive birds released into the wild. Some were pets or birds smuggled into the country and released inadvertently. Others were released by pet owners who grew weary of their feathered friends. Some of the birds may have been helped by human residents who liked the idea of having them in the trees in the neighborhood, he said. Others may have just escaped.
"They start finding each other, pairing off and flocking and reinventing their social structures," Unitt said.
Most common here are the red-crowned parrot, red-masked parakeet and blue-crowned parakeet. Some of their favorite early morning and early evening roosts include wooded sections of Point Loma, Ocean Beach, Pacific Beach, Mission Beach and inland locales such as North Park, El Cajon and Escondido.
"I didn't know what it was. It was kind of freaky," said Chris Milligan, a property manager, recalling the first time he heard the birds congregating in the mornings near his North Park home.
A neighbor told him they were parrots, and Milligan, an early riser, came to appreciate them.
"It's fascinating they can live year-round in the wild here," he said. "I think it's great they're back in the wild."
Members of Hookbill Hobbyists, a club for parrot enthusiasts, said the birds fly around El Cajon, too.
"They're meant to be free," club officer Cookie Ivester said as some of her 12 caged, pet parrots made noise in the background.
"If ours were out of the cages, and seeing how they could fly around and do anything they wanted, they may be a lot happier."
The wild parrot populations seem to be thriving in the patchwork of urban and suburban jungle.
In fact, the parrots also have established a large wild population in the Los Angeles area through similar releases, Unitt said.
John Martin, a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, has been studying the birds in Ocean Beach out of personal interest but with a professional's eye.
"There's solid evidence some are breeding in San Diego," Martin said.
During the day, the birds eat fruit, such as oranges and avocados, and leaves and blossoms, including eucalyptus and bottlebrush, he said. They roost in trees at dusk for the night and make their nests in cavities in trees, particularly the upper trunks of palms, breeding once a year.
They seem most numerous from the end of February through September, Martin said, leading him to wonder if they migrate seeking warmth. But he does not know whether that destination might be Mexico or just El Cajon, he said, adding, "Who knows where?"
Not all species of birds introduced into the wild flourish, but some do, he said, mentioning house sparrows and pigeons from Europe.
Apparently no problem
Other than their squawking calls that annoy some, the parrots do not seem to pose any serious problems here, but that doesn't mean that they are entirely welcome.
Except for an occasional authorization for pet dealers, bringing parrots into the United States is banned to prevent the decimation of their populations in the wild in Mexico, said John Brooks, a special agent with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
But he said, "It happens every day."
Agents write citations to many individuals who may try to enter the country with a bird or two, he said, and the wildlife service prosecutes between 35 and 50 cases a year.
Parrots are capable of carrying exotic Newcastle disease, which can infect poultry populations, Brooks said. There is no evidence they have carried the disease here, he said.
Last week, federal officials lifted a quarantine on movement of poultry and other birds in San Diego County that for months had been used to halt spread of the disease. During that time, parrot owners had been cautioned that their birds could catch and spread the virus, keeping many owners of pet parrots from taking them to bird clubs or shows.
Unitt said that nonindigenous species can upset the local ecology. They may compete with indigenous species for food and space or may spread disease. While parrots have not attacked local crops, he said, they might.
"It is bad ecologically to release them because of unintended consequences," Unitt said.
"The history of exotic organisms' being released around the globe is one fiasco after another."
Martin said he is amazed how the birds in just a few years have integrated into an existing wildlife population, most of whose elements have been in place for thousands of years. And the parrots have done it seemingly without conflict. One kind of bird that he speculated parrots might come in conflict with is woodpeckers, which use the same niches in palms for nesting holes.
The movement of the parrots to Southern California amounts to something of a translocation of the population from the warm climes of northeastern Mexico, experts said.
If efforts are needed to replenish the birds in Mexico, conservationists could turn to the California populations for birds to reintroduce into the wild there.
Not all parrots have been thriving here. Martin has noted large yellow and blue macaws in Ocean Beach, for instance. At one time, there were four, all probably escaped pets, he said.
The single remaining macaw probably will not be able to reproduce. It can be seen often at dusk, squawking in the trees in the yard of a house where the owner keeps a caged macaw as a pet.
David Graham: (619) 542-4575; email@example.com
Davis Enterprise, CA
Secrecy law will apply to UCD labs
By Crystal Ross O'Hara/Enterprise staff writer
UC Davis officials now say they believe information regarding dangerous viruses and bacteria at the university's proposed National Biocontainment Laboratory will fall under federal rules passed in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
The Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 prohibits disclosure of certain information concerning, among other things, quantities of select agents, which researchers are using them and where, and notification of releases. It further warns that officials who do release such information could be fined or jailed.
Last month, university officials told The Enterprise that it was their understanding that because the lab would not be a federal agency, it would not be required to operate under the so-called Bioterrorism Act.
But after further review, university attorneys determined that the proposed lab, and all labs on campus currently using select agents, are covered under the act.
"We hadn't completely pieced together how this relates to us until relatively recently," said campus counsel Steve Drown. He added that the law is confusing, and was adopted only nine months after Sept. 11, 2001 -- far quicker than most congressional acts.
If approved by the National Institutes of Health for funding, UCD's Western National Center for Biodefense and Emerging Diseases would not technically be a federal agency. But Drown said it is now university attorneys' legal opinion that it was Congress' intent that the Bioterrorism Act apply to all institutions using select agents.
"If we were allowed to disseminate information that federal agencies are not, the whole process would be undermined," Drown said.
Select agents including a wide variety of human and animal viruses and bacteria. Researchers at UCD already have such agents on campus in Biosafety Level 3 laboratories, including those that cause botulism, exotic Newcastle disease, brucellosis and anthrax. The proposed facility also would include a Biosafety Level 4 lab where researchers would study some of the world's deadliest diseases.
University officials continually stress that a release from a high-containment laboratory is unlikely, given the state-of-the-art safety and security technology employed at such facilities. But if there were a loss or release of a select agent at the lab, university officials would be required to first contact the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta and then local officials, such as law enforcement, the county public health director or the UCD Fire Department, depending on the incident.
It would fall to those agencies to determine whether the public should be notified of the incident and how.
The revelation that the university will comply with the Bioterrorism Act is likely to inflame opponents of the proposed lab, many of whom have expressed concerns that research there would be shrouded in secrecy.
Davis City Councilwoman Sue Greenwald has been an outspoken opponent of the lab for this very reason. She alleged that as part of the federal biodefense program, lab researchers would be required to focus specifically on agents that could be used by bioterrorists. These agents are singled out by the Bioterrorism Act for unprecedented secrecy and surveillance, she said.
"The biodefense program must operate under federal laws which are antithetical to the university and city norms of openness and freedom of information," Greenwald said. "The national biodefense laboratory belongs in a more secure and remote location."
UCD Provost Virginia Hinshaw said it is a challenge for the university to deal with these new laws.
"Clearly, universities must comply with them, but the interpretation of such laws evolves," she said. "So it is important for universities both to understand and contribute to that interpretation -- that is an ongoing process whenever new laws are passed.
"I have always been a strong advocate for openness in research and I'll continue to work from that position," Hinshaw added.
-- Reach Crystal Ross O'Hara at firstname.lastname@example.org
August 15, 2003
Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier, IA
August 15, 2003
Iowa researchers study composting to dispose of livestock carcasses
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- Researchers are testing whether composting can be used to safely dispose of large numbers of livestock carcasses during an outbreak of a disease such as foot-and-mouth.
Iowa State University researchers are in their second year of studying whether the method carries any adverse disease or environmental effects.
They are trying to determine whether the heat generated in the piles of decaying carcasses surrounded by manure, straw or other organic material is enough to kill diseases and keep them from spreading, said Tom Glanville, a biosystems engineer and project coordinator.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources requested the study after Britain's foot-and-mouth outbreak in 2001, which caused the slaughter and disposal of 6.5 million animals.
"If we would have a similar catastrophic situation we need to know exactly what our most effective options would be," said department spokesman Kevin Baskins.
Many of the carcasses in Britain were burned or buried. Those methods can be problematic to the environment when dealing with large volumes of dead animals and other materials, including infected bedding and feed.
Open burning can cause widespread air pollution, a problem experienced in Britain. Mass burials are not always an option. In Iowa, frozen soils and shallow water tables and bedrock rule out burials in about 40 percent of the state, Glanville said.
The Iowa composting study involves 15 seven-foot-tall piles, that are about 20 feet by 16 feet in size. In each one are four, 1,000-pound dead cows taken from an Iowa rendering company.
Poultry vaccines, which contain live viruses, have been put in the test compost piles to see if they survive. One of the viruses is similar structurally to foot-and-mouth disease. The other is similar to Exotic Newcastle, which paralyzes and kills poultry.
Composting appears to keep the viruses from spreading, said Don Reynolds, a veterinary microbiologist involved in the study. None of the blood samples drawn from chickens housed in cages next to the compost areas have tested positive for antibodies to the viruses.
Preliminary tests indicate the viruses survive no more than three weeks in the piles, he said.
Crop Decisions, MO
Last Texas Newcastle Disease Quarantine Lifted
Aug. 15, 2003
State and federal quarantines restricting bird and poultry movement have been released in Socorro, in El Paso County, Texas, officially bringing to a close the state's Exotic Newcastle Disease outbreak that was first detected in April.
Bob Hillman, executive director for the Texas Animal Health Commission, said that even though END is officially wiped out in Texas, it could still affect the state's ability to trade internationally, at least for a while.
"ENE is a foreign animal disease, and although it struck only backyard birds in Texas and no commercial operations, some 13 countries either placed additional restrictions on our poultry products or banned the products until we could prove Texas was disease-free," he said. "Our trading partners have the prerogative to decide when they'll again accept Texas products. Some countries may accept poultry within a few weeks; others may enforce a longer waiting peiord."
In southern California, more than 300 veterinarians and animal health inspectors continue to battle an END outbreak that has affected hundreds of backyard flocks and 22 commerical poultry farms.
Source: Dow Jones Newswires
NapaNet Daily News, CA
Fighting roosters from AmCan raid are euthanized
Thursday, August 14, 2003
By MARSHA DORGAN
Register Staff Writer
Sheriff's animal control officers on Tuesday afternoon euthanized 500 of the
more than 2,000 fighting cocks seized in an American Canyon raid last week.
The bust happened last Friday after investigators served two search warrants in
the 2000 block of American Canyon Road, off Interstate 80.
The birds were voluntarily surrendered to law enforcement by their owners,
sheriff's Capt. Mike Loughran said.
Loughran said investigators expect to request the district attorney to file
misdemeanor charges of possessing and raising fighting cocks against at least 10
of the bird owners.
"Investigators are working on locating the owners of the remainder of the
roosters," Loughran said.
The fighting cocks were killed by lethal injection, and their carcasses were
turned over to a rendering plant, he said.
Loughran said it is not illegal to raise roosters. "However, it is illegal to
raise them for fighting."
For cock fights, slashers -- razor-sharp knives -- are attached to the bird's
talons. Two roosters are let loose in a ring to attack one another until one is
dead. Spectators bet money on which bird will survive.
If the owners of the remaining unclaimed cocks are not found, the birds will be
euthanized, said Eric Sakach, west coast region director of the Humane Society
of the United States.
The birds will be kept alive for evidence until criminal charges are
adjudicated, Sakach said.
After that, a court order is needed to destroy the roosters, he said. "It
usually takes about 14 days."
Fowl are susceptible to the deadly Exotic Newcastle Disease. The disease wreaked
havoc in the Southern California poultry business last year, and spread to
Nevada, Arizona and Texas.
Health officials suspect the disease may have entered California by way of
parakeets smuggled in from Mexico.
Cockfighting may have played a part in spreading the disease because of the
unsanitary conditions of the illegal breeding grounds, Sakach said.
People who buy fighting cocks go from one facility to another looking for birds
to buy, Sakach said. "They walk through the contaminated feces and it is tracked
to the next facility by the person's shoes or it can be transferred from one
place to the next on car tires."
None of the roosters at the American Canyon site showed any symptoms of the
disease, he said.
However, Sakach said, "We found birds caked in fecal matter and many who had
been cut up in fights."
Sakach said several suture kits, used to stitch up birds injured in the fights,
were found at American Canyon.
The condition of the places where roosters are raised for fighting are
deplorable, he said.
"They are filthy and infested with rats. At the American Canyon site, we found
rolls of toilet paper and human feces. They were using it like a big toilet, and
the birds were defecating on the ground as well. I'm sure it must have some
effect on the ground water there," Sakach said. "The collections of slashers
found on the property was one of the largest I have seen."
Marsha Dorgan can be reached at 256-2214 or email@example.com
Texas Says END Quarantines Over, But Trade May Still be Affected
by Roger Bernard
State and federal quarantines restricting bird and poultry movement have been
released in Socorro, in El Paso County, officially bringing to a close the
Exotic Newcastle Disease (END) outbreak in Texas that was first detected April
9, 2003, according to the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC).
This spring, nearly 800 flocks in El Paso and surrounding counties were tested,
and about 2,000 diseased or exposed backyard birds were euthanized to stop the
spread of the END virus, which does not affect human health or food quality, but
is deadly to birds.
"In April and May, quarantines restricted bird movement within and from El Paso
and Hudspeth Counties in Texas, and from Dona Anna, Luna and Otero Counties in
New Mexico, while teams from the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC), New
Mexico Livestock Board and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) worked to
wipe out the disease," said Dr. Bob Hillman, Texas state veterinarian and
executive director for the TAHC, the state's livestock and poultry health
regulatory agency. "By June 5, confident that the disease had been wiped out,
the state and federal quarantines were reduced to a few blocks within Socorro,
where the infection had been detected. As of Wednesday, August 13, this last
quarantine was released, and poultry and birds can be moved without
Dr. Hillman said that, even though END is officially wiped out in Texas, it
could still affect the state's ability to trade internationally, at least for a
while. "END is a foreign animal disease, and although it struck only backyard
birds in Texas and no commercial operations, some 13 countries either placed
additional restrictions on our poultry products or banned the products until we
could prove Texas was disease-free," he pointed out.
"Our trading partners have the prerogative to decide when they'll again accept
Texas products. Some countries may accept poultry within a few weeks; others may
enforce a longer waiting period." "We have fared well, however, considering the
damage END can do," commented Dr. Hillman. He pointed out that in southern
California, more than three hundred veterinarians and animal health inspectors
continue to battle an END outbreak which has affected hundreds of backyard
flocks and 22 commercial poultry farms.
Almost four million birds have been euthanized to stop the disease from
spreading, and during the height of the outbreak, more than 1,700 animal health
staff 'drafted' from across the country to fight the disease.
Gainesville Times, GA
Poultry disease controls reduced
August 13, 2003
by Chris Hill
The USDA last week lifted much of the quarantines issued to prevent the spread
of exotic Newcastle disease, one of the most deadly poultry diseases.
It was first confirmed in California in October last year and was subsequently
found in Nevada in January, Arizona in February and Texas in April.
In California, more than 3 million birds have been destroyed because of the
disease, which is considered to be "one of the most infectious poultry diseases
in the world." Commercial poultry and pet bird trade was disrupted because of
the quarantines as well as bans on poultry exports initiated by major importing
Officials confirmed the disease in 22 commercial egg production sites in
California. Total sites quarantined for the disease in the state reached 18,344.
As of July 30, 12,045 premises were released from quarantine.
California officials last confirmed a case in May.
Quarantines were lifted in Arizona, Nevada and Texas and most of California. An
area encompassing 7,300 square miles still remains under quarantine in the
southern part of the state. The quarantine area had previously covered 46,000
Upon announcing the end of the quarantines U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Ann
Veneman said she was proud of federal and state workers and their efforts to
"manage the disease."
"This is an example of what the state and federal partnership can accomplish in
animal disease eradication," Veneman said.
This is great news for the industry. However, producers should not become lax in
their biosecurity efforts simply because the threat of exotic Newcastle has
In fact, the Tucker-based U.S. Poultry & Egg Association has produced an
educational CD-ROM that offers biological security training for poultry
The CD is free and can be ordered online at www. poultryegg.org or by calling
the association at (770) 493-9401.
Exotic Newcastle disease is not dangerous to humans, but is readily spread to
birds through bird droppings and bodily fluids. Symptoms include decreased egg
production, respiratory problems and high mortality.
Georgia growers with birds exhibiting symptoms of disease should call the
Georgia Department of Agriculture at (800) 282-5852 or the Georgia Poultry
Diagnostic lab at (770) 535-5996.
Chris Hill is editor and production director of Gainesville-based Poultry Times.
He can be reached at (770) 536-2476 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Victorville Daily Press, CA
Tuesday, August 12, 2003
Ostrich farmer left out of quarantine lift
By CHRISTINA L. ESPARZA/Staff Writer
APPLE VALLEY - The federal and state governments may have lifted most of the
Exotic Newcastle Disease quarantine, but that doesn't help Apple Valley ostrich
farmer Doug Osborne.
"There's no market to sell them," Osborne said. "Ostrich meat, feathers, eggs,
hide - we weren't able to sell or move any of these off the farm."
Officials from the Exotic Newcastle Disease Task Force, a partnership between
the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the U.S. Department of
Agriculture, reduced the quarantine last week from more than 46,000 square miles
to 7,300, officials said.
The quarantine has been entirely lifted from Santa Barbara, Imperial and San
Diego counties, along with some areas in San Bernardino, Orange, Riverside and
Los Angeles counties.
Unfortunately for Osborne, owner of O.K. Corral Ostrich Farm, the quarantine is
still in effect for him.
"All commercial facilities - poultry or otherwise - are still under the
quarantine until the whole quarantine is lifted," said Adrian Woodfork,
spokesman for the Exotic Newcastle Disease Task Force. "In order for him to ship
out to other states, he has to get a compliance agreement and health
Woodfork added that the agency hopes to have the entire quarantine lifted by the
end of the year. There have been no new reported cases of the disease since May,
Osborne said he has a compliance agreement and tests his birds every 10 days,
but his agreement states that he could only do business in Southern California.
His best customers, he said, are in Northern California and out of state.
"It takes years to get new, best customers," Osborne said.
Osborne has about 800 ostriches on his farm, including about 300 chicks, he
said. Each one costs about $180 a year to feed, which equates to about $7,000 a
The farmer said he had to take out a $100,000 loan and is quickly running out of
Other ostrich farms in Southern California have just cashed in their chips and
gone out of business. Before the Exotic Newcastle Disease outbreak that arrived
in the region last October, there were nine ostrich farms. Now there are five.
In 14 years of business, Osborne said he has invested about $2 million. The
future of his livelihood is dim unless the state allows him to move his birds.
"If I can't very quickly start selling large amounts of ostriches, I will be out
of business. I will be bankrupt and turn these birds over to the government and
ask them to write me a check for the depopulation," he said.
Osborne said he is also looking to the government for a subsidy, so that he
might be able to keep his business going after the quarantine is lifted.
Christina L. Esparza can be reached at email@example.com or
NOTE: This story is VERY inaccurate in regard to END. Just more of the ARA lies in order to convince people that no exotic animals, including parakeets, should be owned by persons.
Baltimore Sun, MD
Exotic pets need controls
By Wayne Pacelle
Originally published August 11, 2003
WASHINGTON -- At the root of the government's recent scramble to contain the outbreak of monkeypox lies a simple fact: anyone arriving in the United States carrying meat, fruit or a potted plant from any foreign destination is subject to a thorough inspection and confiscation of the item to ensure it isn't harboring diseases or parasites.
But an importer of live exotic animals, say Gambian giant pouched rats that are blamed for introducing the monkey pox virus into the United States from Africa and passing it to humans via pet prairie dogs, faces no such check. Gambian rats, and hundreds of other exotic wildlife species, have a far easier time entering the United States than dogs, cats, livestock, horses and people.
This latest outbreak of yet another alien disease results from the government's failure to regulate the flow of millions of wild creatures into this country for the pet trade. A veritable Noah's Ark of exotic wildlife carrying viruses, bacteria and parasites that can transmit endemic foreign contagions to humans and to native wildlife are being imported into the United States with scant federal regulation, restriction or precaution.
America's craze for exotic pets has created a freewheeling, virtually unregulated wildlife import industry that may account for nearly half of the roughly $30 billion market for pets and pet products in this country. The industry is in serious need of controls. Everything from dangerous carnivores to omnivorous fish to venomous reptiles and amphibians are sold in pet stores, on the Internet, by mail order catalog, at regional auctions and in local swap meets.
Animals have long been known to transmit zoonotic illnesses to humans. They include E. coli, rabies, salmonella, trichinosis, yellow fever, malaria, botulism, streptococcus and influenza.
What are known as "emerging diseases" recently have increasingly jumped from animals to humans as contact with exotic creatures has risen and opportunistic infectious agents have found new hosts. They include HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B, the hemorrhagic Ebola and Marburg viruses, Lyme disease, hantavirus, mad cow disease, West Nile virus, the respiratory killer SARS and now monkeypox.
Experts believe this animal-human crossover could spawn dangerous new pathogens and increase the chances for another deadly disease outbreak.
The Humane Society of the United States began campaigning against exotic animal imports 30 years ago when it supported a successful petition to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to ban the import and sale of small turtles that carry salmonella. In 1975, the government banned imports of all primates for the pet trade because they carry several dangerous diseases.
Following the monkeypox outbreak, the government banned the import, sale and distribution of Gambian rats and other African rodents and halted trade in native American prairie dogs. The government's practice of targeting wildlife after a disease outbreak illustrates a major flaw in public health protection -- closing the barn door after the horse has bolted.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are 9 million pet reptiles -- snakes, iguanas, lizards and turtles -- in the United States, and they are responsible for about 90,000 cases of salmonella poisoning annually. The disease causes severe diarrhea, fever, vomiting, even death -- with children and the elderly the most vulnerable. Four years ago the Humane Society petitioned the FDA for an import ban on all pet reptiles in response to the soaring incidence of salmonellosis. We are still awaiting the agency's response.
Government defenses against the exotic animal disease threat are fragmented among several federal agencies that regulate imports of dogs, cats, livestock, horses, meat and produce. Everything else gets waved through. Says an Agriculture Department spokesman: "We don't regulate importation of fish, reptiles, lions, tigers, bears, foxes, monkeys, endangered species, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, mice, rats, chinchillas, squirrels, mongooses, chipmunks, ferrets and other rodents."
Exotics can also wreak ecological and financial havoc by introducing diseases to domestic wildlife, livestock, poultry and fish populations which have no natural resistance to them. A recent case: Exotic Newcastle Disease, carried into California this year by smuggled Mexican parakeets and initially spread to four other states by illegal cock fighters whose game fowl became infected. The disease has forced the government to destroy 3.5 million chickens and turkeys and has cost taxpayers more than $180 million.
When millions of surplus cats and dogs are euthanized every year because homes cannot be found for them, there is no good reason to take wild animals from their natural habitats and confine them to a tiny cage or a small enclosure for the rest of their lives. Consumers should consider the health risks and the humane issues associated with any species of wild animal -- exotic or native -- obtained as a pet.
Any time a wild creature is brought into the home, it can bring with it every bacteria, virus or parasite it has been exposed to. Even with a lengthy quarantine, there is no way to assure that these animals are healthy or will not pass on disease-causing pathogens to humans.
Until a sound system to protect public health is in place, the federal government should prohibit imports of all exotic mammals, reptiles, amphibians and birds -- wild caught or captive bred -- destined for the pet trade. If someone wants a loving pet, there are plenty available for adoption at local humane societies and breed rescue groups.
Wayne Pacelle is a senior vice president of The Humane Society of the United States.
Copyright © 2003, The Baltimore Sun
Napa Valley Register, CA
2,000 birds seized in AmCan raid
Suspected cockfighting operation stopped by local, federal agents
Saturday, August 9, 2003
By MARSHA DORGAN
Register Staff Writer
More than 2,000 suspected game fighting cocks were seized when an army of law
enforcement officers stormed breeding grounds in south Napa County early Friday
A team of 30 investigators, including sheriff's deputies, the SWAT team and
agents from the Humane Society of the United States, served two search warrants
in the 2000 block of American Canyon Road, off Interstate 80.
The bust came after a lengthy investigation into the goings-on at the site,
sheriff's Capt. Mike Loughran said.
Although no one was arrested, a man who was on scene was detained for
questioning, he said.
Once the owners of the birds are identified, charges will be filed, Loughran
The roosters are still on the property. "If they are not claimed, they will be
destroyed," he said.
During the raid, agents also confiscated several firearms and items of
Eric Sakach, West Coast Regional Director of the Humane Society, said the group
of slashers -- the razor sharp knives attached to the rooster's talons -- found
on the property was the one of the largest collections that he has ever seen.
For cock fights, the razor-sharp knives are attached to the bird's feet. Two
roosters are let loose in a ring to attack one another until one is dead.
Spectators bet money on which bird will survive.
"It is not illegal to raise roosters. However, it is illegal to raise them for
fighting," Loughran said. "The burden of proof that the cocks are being raised
for fighting is on law enforcement. And sometimes that can be difficult."
Sheriff's detective Mark Brownlee has been investigating illegal cockfighting in
Napa County since 2002.
Last February, following an eight-month investigation, officers from law
enforcement agencies stretching from Los Angeles to San Joaquin County raided a
cockfighting operation at 1895 Foster Road and seized 1,546 roosters as well as
fighting paraphernalia. They made 15 arrests during the two-day bust.
Stephen Camden, a Vallejo attorney who owns the Foster Road property and leased
it to several tenants, said he had toured the property on at least three
occasions and never saw any signs of cockfighting.
The day of the raid, law enforcement agents waded through mud, rooster
excrement, trash and dead rats, finding evidence that cockfighting had taken
place on the property.
Eight birds were dead and 12 were later euthanized due to injuries suffered
during fights, according to authorities.
When no one claimed the birds by April, a Napa County judge ordered that the
remainder of the birds be euthanized.
The fighting cocks pose a danger because of their aggression. They are too
dangerous to be adopted as farm animals and because they are shuffled from one
place to the next, they can spread Exotic Newcastle disease, a deadly avian
infection that struck the state's poultry industry in the 1970s and has
resurfaced recently in Southern California.
Marsha Dorgan can be reached at 256-2214 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Livingston Chronicle, CA
Poultry classes may be cut from Stanislaus County Fair
Chicken classes may be a victim of the Exotic Newcastle Disease scare.
Fairs across the state are responding to the spread of a deadly poultry disease
by canceling their annual poultry shows this year, and the Stanislaus County
Fair board may be next on the list.
Exotic Newcastle Disease, a virus that affects the respiratory and nervous
systems of all birds including poultry and almost always ends in death, has
spread across six southern California counties, and officials at the California
Division of Fairs and Expositions have asked state and county fairs to exclude
poultry exhibits from this year's fairs.
"We strongly recommended each board develop the local policy to suspend poultry
shows," said Liz Houser, director of the Division of Fairs and Expositions.
Houser said the division oversees 80 fairs within California, although most are
governed by their local boards. The division sent memos to each fair board this
week, encouraging them not to showcase poultry, since Exotic Newcastle Disease
can be spread as easily as on the shoes of attendees at the fairs.
The virus is spread rapidly through infected birds' droppings and can survive
for several weeks in a warm and humid environment, according to U.S. Department
of Agriculture reports.
Tony Leo, manager of the Stanislaus County Fair, said the fair board will
address the possibility of canceling its poultry show at the board meeting at
5:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
"We have that on our agenda Wednesday," said Leo. "I'm sure after the meeting on
Wednesday we will come to a decision."
Cheryl Davidson, fair manager of the Merced County Fair, said the item will be
on the agenda at the February board meeting.
Fair officials had received the memo asking them to suspend this year's poultry
show, and Davidson said she immediately contacted the local 4-H organization.
"We'll be working on some projects where the kids can be involved," said
Davidson. "We don't want those exhibitors to be left out."
The counties currently quarantined are Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San
Bernardino and San Diego.
Over 600,000 chickens have been eradicated due to the highly contagious disease
and there are plans for putting down over a million and a half of the birds on
commercial premises, according to a release provided by the California
Department of Food and Agriculture.
Over 1,000 infected backyard flocks have also been detected, with the
depopulation count currently at 800, and an additional 55,000 more expected to
Almost 680,000 birds have been put down in all so far, with over 6,000
facilities quarantined, said reports.
Word of the disease began in early October when a backyard flock was found to be
infected. By January chickens in a commercial flock were discovered to have the
Other fairs have either already come to the conclusion they would forego poultry
exhibits, or are in the process.
Troy Bowers, deputy manager of the San Joaquin County Fair said after urging
from the Division of Fairs and Expositions to not have a poultry show this year,
the board has already decided to replace it with other hands-on activities
related to the subject of poultry raising, which he plans to keep as part of a
"poultry experience" from now on.
"I regret that this disease has affected the livelihood of so many people," said
Bowers, adding that a positive aspect of the situation has been bringing the
community together to come up with alterior plans for the poultry exhibit.
Houser said the division decided to start telling the fairs its recommendation
early in the year to head off any children who might be buying baby chicks as
their fair project.
"So many young people are right now purchasing their livestock project," said
Houser. "We wanted to direct them to another project."
In October, Houser said, a Junior Poultry show had to be canceled in Fresno the
night before it was to happen. But instead of giving up on the show altogether,
children came and auctioned off pictures of their chickens instead.
Ames Tribune, IA
Poultry industry may see relief from disease
By: Matt Neznanski, Staff Writer
August 07, 2003
A recent reduction in southwestern exotic Newcastle disease quarantine areas may
signal the end of an outbreak that has gripped poultry producers for 10 months.
After extensive surveillance and regular testing, areas of Arizona, Nevada
and Texas no longer show signs of the disease, leaving only parts of southern
California counties still under scrutiny.
"We are hoping we are very close to the final phase of eradication," said
Leticia Rico, the spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's exotic
Newcastle task force, which is in charge of the effort.
The announcement leaves 7,300 square miles in quarantine, down from 46,000
affected square miles on Monday.
Rico said the reduction also relieves veterinarians who conducted tests
and observed farms.
About 500 people remain on the task force, she said. In January, the group
peaked at 1,700 workers.
Volunteers from the National Animal Disease Center in Ames aided in the
Exotic Newcastle disease was first confirmed in backyard poultry flocks in
southern California in October. It later spread to Nevada in January and Arizona
in February. The disease was diagnosed in Texas in April.
Exotic Newcastle is a contagious and fatal viral disease that affects the
respiratory, nervous and digestive systems of birds. The disease is transmitted
through infected birds' droppings and secretions from the nose, mouth and eyes.
It does not represent a health risk to humans.
According to Rico, the majority of California counties have been cleared.
But the quarantine area still includes most of Los Angeles County, where
veterinarians have been working among backyard flocks where language and
cultural barriers have slowed the process.
Still, Rico credits the department's efforts to teach people about the
disease and its containment as a factor in getting it under control.
"This has been a major public education campaign for us," she said.
"People have been listening up, looking at our Web site and safeguarding their
Meanwhile, commercial growers stepped up biosecurity measures to keep the
disease from spreading beyond the Southwest.
Bill Mattos, president of the California Poultry Federation, said growers
are pleased the disease never spread into northern California, where 95 percent
of the state's birds are raised.
"We've learned a lot about biosecurity," Mattos said. "The industry does a
good job, but we're getting better."
In southern California, 3.5 million egg-laying chickens were destroyed
during the outbreak. Mattos said growers were compensated, but the amount
doesn't approach what the birds were worth.
Additionally, as many as 29 countries, including the European Union,
restricted U.S. poultry imports in some way because of the outbreak.
Mattos said California growers only export about 2 percent of their
products, but the lifting of the quarantine should signal a return to trade.
Wednesday, August 6, 2003
Newcastle quarantine still affecting businesses
After months under quarantine, the state has lifted restrictions on poultry and exotic birds in the Coachella Valley. The quarantine was to prevent the spread of the deadly Newcastle disease. But the industry is still suffering.
Though it may sound noisy at the Bracken Bird Farm in Redlands, business has been quiet for months.
It's been very, very difficult for us.
Julie Salazar says the deadly Newcastle disease quarantine in Riverside and San Bernardino counties has kept the bird farm from selling outside the area for fear of spreading the exotic disease.
It's devastated us. Were unable to ship out of airports.
Many of the cages here are empty. They can't buy birds if they know they won't be able to sell them and to give you an idea of how Newcastle has devastated the industry, profits here this year are down half a million dollars.
The quarantine has been in place since spring, but the state is finally beginning to ease restrictions on exotic birds and poultry. This week, the quarantine area shrunk by 85 percent, releasing the Coachella Valley from restrictions, but parts of Riverside and San Bernardino Counties remain, including the Bracken Bird Farm.
It's been a nightmare. We lost sleep over it.
Even those who now live outside the quarantine area are still feeling the effects of Newcastle. Large bird farms like Bracken can't supply local pet owners with their feathery friends. The Living Desert's bird exhibit remains closed. And pet bird owners like Kim Simmons still can't travel freely with her birds.
I'll be ecstatic when quarantine lifted. My birds can live the way they want to live.
The state expects to lift all restrictions within the next 2 months.
Then we can get back to normal. We've survived this long only by the grace of God.
The state says restrictions on bird exhibits, like the one at the Living Desert, will be the last to go. Again, though we are now out of the quarantine area, you can't buy a bird from inside the quarantine area and bring it here and you can't travel with your bird through a quarantine area
San Mateo County Times, CA
Fowl fans: Alas, this is not your clucky year
Poultry banned from County Fair for fear of Exotic Newcastle Disease
By Lizzie O'Leary, STAFF WRITER
August 6. 2003
SAN MATEO -- A regular chorus of clucks will be silent at this year's San Mateo
County Fair, which begins Friday.
Poultry lovers will have to content themselves with pictures and posters of the
real thing. No live birds will be shown because of fears of Exotic Newcastle
Disease or END.
In place of regular competition, fair officials will offer a variety of artistic
and academic challenges, from designing chicken collages to answering trivia.
The San Mateo fair's suspension of poultry exhibitions is the latest in a stream
of stoppages statewide. The Marin County Fair nixed its poultry show in July.
The ban on birds springs from the state's Exotic Newcastle Disease Task Force,
an arm of the Department of Food and Agriculture. In March, it issued a
directive forbidding the sale and showing of poultry across California.
No new cases of the disease have been reported since May, and the task force
hopes to lift the ban by the end of the year, according to spokesman Adrian
END, which poses no threat to humans, is spread quickly between birds, and
causes severe sickness and death. It does not affect eggs and chicken meat.
But the disease's presence in California does bother County fair competitors,
particularly children who have raised birds for past competitions. Last year,
14-year-old Ryan Valtierra brought seven chickens to the fair. This year, the
Woodside 4-H member will leave his fancy Polish white birds at home. Despite his
disappointment, Valtierra did not want to risk exposing his chickens to the
illness. "I kind of understand why we couldn't bring them," he said.
His mother Angelika, the poultry leader for her son's 4-H club, said the nine
members of the club were quite disappointed, but also curious about the disease.
The club studied as much information about the disease as it could find.
The members also worked on preparing poultry-themed art for the fair, making
large laminated photos of their chickens. They will be able to show them at the
fair's alternative chicken displays, including an educational poster
competition, a "build a bird" contest and an Avian Bowl trivia competition.
The San Mateo-Burlingame 4-H club also will bring a model chicken this year --
one that is over 4 feet tall and made of chicken wire and napkins, according to
leader Dave Haw. Haw's son Nicholas showed two grand champion meat pen chickens
Now he and other 4-Hers will have to content themselves by filling the barn with
silent facsimiles of real fowl. Said Angelika Valtierra, "It's going to be real
quiet in there."
Ventura County Star, CA
Newcastle disease quarantine lifted in some areas
Restrictions in place for eastern county until tests complete
By Molly Freedenberg, email@example.com
August 6, 2003
Bird owners in western Ventura County are free to move their fowl about, after
state and federal officials reduced the exotic Newcastle disease quarantine area
Not all Ventura County chicken lovers, however, are so lucky. Although the
quarantine was lifted Monday in Arizona, Nevada, Texas and parts of Southern
California -- an 84 percent reduction -- the remaining boundaries still cut into
Ventura County's eastern section.
That means restrictions on moving birds are still in effect in Simi Valley,
Thousand Oaks, Moorpark, and parts of Camarillo east of Lewis Road.
Leticia Rico, spokeswoman for a task force of state and federal agricultural
officials responsible for overseeing the quarantine, said those areas are still
under watch because testing for the extremely contagious disease is not complete
Portions of other counties, including San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Los
Angeles, Orange and Kern, also are still in the quarantine zone.
The task force completed testing first -- and lifted the quarantine -- in those
areas with the least amount of Newcastle infection, Rico said. "We didn't want
to hold these areas unnecessarily," she said.
The task force saved the most-infected areas for testing last.
That means bird owners in places like Simi Valley, where three backyard cases of
Newcastle have been found, simply must wait for testing to be completed and
results to return.
"We're hopeful we'll have something by the end of the month," Rico said.
Rico said bird owners can help lift the quarantine faster by cooperating with
officials who have been going door to door to test birds for the disease.
The disease, which can kill birds but doesn't harm humans, was first found in
egg-laying flocks in California in November.
Since then, the federal government has spent $11.5 million to destroy 144,000
birds. Officials also have banned chickens and other birds from county fairs
across the state, including Ventura's.
Large areas of Southwest eliminated from END quarantine
Aug 5, 2003 (CIDRAP News) - The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) yesterday
announced that the quarantine for exotic Newcastle disease (END) has been lifted
for Arizona, Nevada, and Texas. In addition, the quarantine zone in Southern
California has been reduced by 84%, from 46,000 to 7,300 square miles, according
to a press release from the California Department of Food and Agriculture
(CDFA). Birds in the areas eliminated have been thoroughly tested, with no cases
of END found.
The reduced quarantine zone in California includes portions of Los Angeles, San
Bernardino, Riverside, Orange, Venture, and Kern counties, according to the
release. Poultry testing continues in those areas, and once enough birds have
tested negative, the quarantine will be reconsidered there as well. Bird owners
in the remaining quarantined areas wishing to move birds must obtain a permit.
"This is a tremendous development in this program. . . . We are able to make
this change much sooner than we originally thought we would," CDFA Secretary
William Lyons says in the press release. Ann Veneman, secretary of USDA, says in
a press release from that agency, "I commend the efforts of the federal and
state officials who have worked so hard to manage this disease. This is an
example of what the state and federal partnership can accomplish in animal
The current outbreak was first confirmed in backyard California poultry flocks
in October 2002 and in commercial operations in December of that year. The
outbreak then spread to Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas. Well over 3
million birds have been destroyed in the effort to contain the outbreak. The
last outbreak in the United States was in 1971 in California, when about 12
million birds were destroyed. The state has a $3 billion poultry industry.
USDA Aug 4 press release
CDFA END page (includes links to Aug 4 CDFA press release and map of remaining
Previous CIDRAP News stories on the current END outbreak
CIDRAP overview on END
Ventura County Star, CA
August 5, 2003
Poultry quarantine lifted in most areas
Poultry farmers in Southwestern states that suffered an outbreak of a highly infectious bird disease can start shipping their birds again.
Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman said Monday that her department was lifting poultry quarantines in Arizona, Nevada, Texas and parts of California because federal and state officials have eradicated an outbreak of exotic Newcastle, a bird disease.
The quarantine remains in effect for parts of San Diego County.
Los Angeles Times, CA
August 5, 2003
U.S. Eases Bar on Poultry as Virus Threat Subsides
In the Southland, a quarantine to avert the spread of exotic Newcastle disease is reduced to 22 farms.
By Melinda Fulmer, Times Staff Writer
The U.S. Department of Agriculture lifted quarantines Monday on poultry shipments in three Southwestern states and in most of California, saying that a deadly poultry virus appears to be under control.
Exotic Newcastle disease, which kills birds but does not pose a threat to humans, spread rapidly across Southern California and several other states since its discovery in Compton last fall.
To wipe out the disease, a strict quarantine was imposed, and more than 3 million birds were destroyed in Southern California and a smaller number in other states.
"We think we are close to eradicating" exotic Newcastle disease, said Leticia Rico, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
In California, the quarantine area was reduced Monday to 22 farms in parts of Orange, Ventura, San Bernardino and San Diego counties.
Farms and backyard flocks in these areas still must submit to weekly monitoring and cannot move their birds or related poultry products unless given special permission from the state.
But because no California birds have been found with the virus since May, state officials are becoming increasingly confident that the disease has been eliminated.
"We are estimating that the balance of the quarantine could be released by late August," Rico said.
The USDA also lifted quarantines that restricted the movement of birds in Arizona, Nevada and Texas.
Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman said Monday that the Newcastle virus has been eliminated from flocks in most of the U.S. She attributed its quick containment to the efforts of a state and federal task force organized after a state of emergency was declared in California by Gov. Gray Davis in January.
"I commend the efforts of state and federal officials who have worked so hard to manage this disease," Veneman said in a statement. "This is an example of what the partnership can accomplish in animal disease eradication."
The last outbreak of exotic Newcastle disease, in 1971, caused the destruction of 12 million birds at a cost of $56 million.
This time, the disease has cost the government $188 million to contain.
An investigation has not yet pinpointed the cause of the disease, but state officials and egg farmers suspect that farm workers who owned fighting roosters spread the disease to commercial egg farms on their clothing, hands and automobile tires.
The disease has been particularly devastating to California's struggling egg industry, much of which is in Southern California.
Most of the 3 million birds that were destroyed were on farms in San Bernardino, Riverside, San Diego and Ventura counties.
Although many large farms are beginning to restock their hens a process that could take a couple of years some smaller farms are not replacing lost flocks, said Paul Bahan, president of AAA Egg Farms in Nuevo.
"I know a number of farms that are not going to be repopulated," Bahan said.
And those that do restock their hens will have to wait before those birds start laying enough eggs, he said. "It's going to take awhile before they get back up to full production."
First may be last to leave Newcastle disease quarantine
BIRDS: The borders have shrunk by 85 percent. San Bernardino and Riverside counties still remain.
By LESLIE BERKMAN / The Press-Enterprise
With no more signs of infected birds, state and federal authorities on Monday shrunk the nine-county exotic Newcastle disease quarantine in Southern California by 85 percent.
However, the remaining 7,300-square-mile quarantine includes large portions of Riverside and San Bernardino counties, where disease outbreaks have been most significant since the virus was first detected last October in back-yard flocks.
The counties of San Diego, Santa Barbara and Imperial were totally released from the quarantine, as were parts of Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange, Kern, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Also, federal quarantines have been removed in Arizona, Nevada and Texas.
Despite the shrunken California quarantine, State Veterinarian Richard Breitmeyer and Annette Whiteford, co-commander of the federal-state task force laboring to eradicate the disease, said all commercial egg ranches in Southern California will remain under quarantine restrictions and surveillance.
No commercial egg farms will be exempted from tight biosecurity, including a mandated weekly testing of birds, until the quarantine is withdrawn from the entire state, Breitmeyer said. Twenty-two commercial poultry farms are under individual quarantines.
Whiteford, a veterinarian with the California Department of Food and Agriculture, said by phone that special precaution is being taken with commercial flocks. A new outbreak would devastate large numbers of birds, she said, and some commercial ranches on both sides of the quarantine lines are under the same ownership or share contracted services.
Breitmeyer said by phone that, until the total quarantine is lifted, commercial ranches will continue to euthanize older "spent" hens on site rather than send them to a meat processor in central California.
Whiteford said owners of pet birds outside the newly reduced quarantine zone now will be able to move the birds freely.
But she said pet bird owners inside the smaller zone may have more difficulty transporting their birds because they will have to obtain a permit to take them anywhere else in Southern California.
Also, authorities said they will continue to enforce a statewide ban on the congregation of poultry and pet birds at shows and fairs.
But the reduction of the exotic Newcastle quarantine indicates that efforts to eradicate the usually deadly avian disease have succeeded more quickly than state and federal authorities expected, Breitmeyer said.
"The good news that is extremely significant is that we have been able to actively test a sufficient number of birds to feel confident that we do not have disease in the area we are releasing" from quarantine, Whiteford said.
Whiteford said the task force will finish taking swabs of backyard birds within the remaining quarantine over the next two to three weeks. Depending on subsequent laboratory results, she said, that quarantine also could be eliminated. She declined to estimate when that might occur.
Whiteford credited improved efficiency of the task force and public cooperation for the progress to date. No diagnosis of exotic Newcastle has been found in commercial poultry since March 26 or in back-yard birds since May 31.
The task force reports so far it has spent $158 million on eradicating exotic Newcastle in California, including $30 million to compensate the owners of nearly 3.2 million birds that were euthanized to stop the disease from spreading.
Of more than 18,000 homes in highly infected areas that the state placed under individual quarantines, all but 4,780 have been released. Birds were destroyed at about 2,500 homes, all of which have been cleaned and disinfected and have begun to replace their birds, Whiteford said.
Also commercial egg producers are starting to repopulate their hen houses. Craig Willardson, president of Norco Farms, which lost more than a million hens, said by phone that the company has been buying day-old chicks from HyLine Hatchery in Lakeview and raising them at two pullet farms it owns in Hemet and near Victorville. He said it takes 18 weeks for the birds to mature into egg-layers.
Willardson said within a couple of weeks he will have a flock of 500,000 young laying hens at the company's ranch in Fontana. Also, he said he has ordered more chicks to begin replenishing another ranch next to the company's headquarters in Norco.
"By the end of the year, we will be back to full population," he said. Even after the quarantine disappears, Willardson said Norco Ranch will keep its beefed-up biosecurity program in hope of preventing future disease outbreaks.
Reach Leslie Berkman at (909) 893-2111 or firstname.lastname@example.org
North County Times, CA
Last modified Tuesday, August 5, 2003 6:19 AM PDT
All Newcastle quarantines lifted
By:EDMOND JACOBY - Staff Writer
Quarantines imposed by the state of California and by the federal government in San Diego County to limit the spread of Exotic Newcastle disease are no more, a spokesman for the Exotic Newcastle disease task force said Monday.
Along with the states of Texas, Arizona and Nevada, and some other areas in California, San Diego County has been declared entirely free of the disease, said Adrian Woodfork, a task force spokesman who works for the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
Exotic Newcastle disease was first confirmed in backyard poultry in Southern California in October, and in commercial poultry in December. The state imposed a quarantine throughout San Diego County, and in all of Ventura, Los Angeles and Orange counties and the western portions of Riverside and San Bernardino counties.
Shortly afterward, the federal government also imposed quarantines, but included Imperial and Santa Barbara counties and part of Kern County as well.
Exotic Newcastle disease is one of the most infectious poultry diseases in the world, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It is a contagious and fatal viral disease that affects the respiratory, nervous and digestive systems of all species of birds. The virus is spread primarily through direct contact between healthy birds and the bodily discharges of infected birds.
To combat the spread of the disease, which was blamed on the breeding of fighting cocks, nearly 4 million chickens were destroyed, including upward of 140,000 so-called game birds.
Withdrawal of the quarantine means that the county's commercial and noncommercial, or backyard, bird-raisers can now ship birds and receive them.
Contact staff writer Edmond Jacoby at (760) 739-6675 or email@example.com.
San Diego Union Tribune, CA
Area declared free of exotic Newcastle
By Elizabeth Fitzsimons
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
August 5, 2003
After the destruction of more than 400,000 birds and at a cost of millions of dollars, exotic Newcastle disease, a fatal avian virus, has been wiped out in San Diego County.
The county was released yesterday from a quarantine to stop the spread of the highly contagious disease. The decision indicates that exotic Newcastle which a few months ago appeared to be spreading unchecked across Southern California and nearby states could soon be eradicated.
"The good news is the fact that if they're lifting it, the disease is gone," said Eric Larson, executive director of the San Diego County Farm Bureau. "They came in, they took some harsh action, but they eradicated it."
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Ann M. Veneman announced yesterday that the quarantine area would be reduced in California and the quarantine lifted in Texas, Arizona and Nevada. Restrictions remain in Los Angeles and Orange counties and portions of Riverside, San Bernardino, Kern and Ventura counties.
"I commend the efforts of the federal and state officials who have worked so hard to manage this disease," Veneman said in a statement.
The quarantine prohibited the movement of birds and poultry products, except for eggs, from quarantined areas. The virus is harmless to humans.
Veneman's announcement came sooner than officials with the state Department of Agriculture expected. The department is working with the federal agriculture department to eradicate the disease.
"In the very beginning when the disease first broke out last fall, we, especially with all of those birds being depopulated, we thought we had a major crisis on our hands," said Adrian Woodfork, spokesman for the state and federal Exotic Newcastle Disease Task Force.
"We thought it would go longer than a year."
Task force members conducted diagnostic surveys in communities around the county this summer, counting birds and testing for exotic Newcastle. No cases were found. Surveys are still being conducted in areas that remain under quarantine, Woodfork said.
About 3.2 million birds, nearly all of them chickens in commercial flocks, have been destroyed in California, Arizona, Texas and Nevada, and $188 million spent to contain the disease. Task force officials have not calculated figures for the cost of fighting the outbreak in individual counties.
The outbreak was first confirmed in Compton in October. It spread to commercial poultry flocks in December, reaching 22 flocks in Southern California, and into Nevada in January and Arizona in February. In April, the virus was detected in Texas.
Seven poultry ranches in Valley Center and Ramona tested positive for exotic Newcastle, and their flocks were destroyed. The task force also counted about 10 cases among backyard or pet birds, all in North County.
The last outbreak of the virus in California was in 1971. The eradication effort took three years and cost $56 million. Twelve million birds were destroyed.
(760) 737-7578; firstname.lastname@example.org
Wisconsin Ag Connection, WI
USDA Reduces Quarantines for Exotic Newcastle Disease
USAgNet Editors - 08/05/2003
Secretary Ann Veneman announced that USDA has eliminated the last remaining areas quarantined for exotic Newcastle disease in Arizona, Nevada and Texas and reduced the quarantined area in California. This action removes restrictions on the movement of birds, poultry and certain other articles from those areas.
Exotic Newcastle disease was first confirmed in backyard poultry in southern California in October 2002 and in commercial poultry in December 2002. It was later identified in Nevada and Arizona in January and February 2003, respectively. In April, the disease was also diagnosed in Texas.
With yesterday's action, there is no longer any areas in Arizona, Nevada and Texas that are quarantined because of this disease.
Exotic Newcastle disease is one of the most infectious poultry diseases in the world. It is a contagious and fatal viral disease that affects the respiratory, nervous and digestive systems of all species of birds. The virus is spread primarily through direct contact between healthy birds and the bodily discharges of infected birds. The disease is transmitted through infected birds' droppings and secretions from the nose, mouth and eyes. However, the disease is not a human health risk.
This interim rule in published in the August 2 Federal Register and was effective July 30. Consideration will be given to comments received on or before October 3
Aug. 4) -- State and federal agriculture officials believe all traces of Exotic Newcastle Disease have been eliminated in Nevada.
Officials this week lifted a quarantine and declared the state free of the deadly bird disease.
The disease, which isn't a threat to humans, was discovered in southern Nevada in January. Officials suspect the disease made its way to Nevada from Southern California, where experts have been battling it since 2002.
Officials have destroyed about three thousand birds since the discovery of the disease in Southern Nevada. Bird owners were compensated.
A quarantine also was implemented for Clark County and portions of Nye County south of the Amargosa Valley.
The quarantine was eased in February, when pet store owners were again allowed to sell birds.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved)
Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, GA
Posted on Mon, Aug. 04, 2003
USDA ends quarantines on chickens in southwest
WASHINGTON - Poultry farmers in southwestern states that suffered an outbreak of a highly infectious bird disease can start shipping their birds again.
Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman said Monday that her department was lifting poultry quarantines in Arizona, Nevada, Texas and parts of California because federal and state officials have eradicated an outbreak of Exotic Newcastle, a bird disease that infected several egg-laying flocks.
However, the quarantine remains in effect for parts of San Diego County, Calif., where the disease remains prevalent, department officials said. The disease paralyzes and kills birds, but it poses no threat to humans.
The outbreak was first found in egg-laying flocks in California last November. As the disease spread eastward, the department imposed quarantines prohibiting farmers in the affected areas from shipping poultry.
Officials believe farm workers that keep cockfighting roosters infected with Exotic Newcastle spread it to egg farms. The infection can be carried on people's clothing and shoes.
The federal government spent $11.5 million from October to May to destroy 144,000 birds characterized as game fowl.
ON THE WEB:
USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service: http://www.aphis.usda.gov
High Plains Journal, KS
Monday, August 4, 2003 Good Afternoon!
Poultry Quarantine Area Reduced
USDA Secretary Ann M. Veneman today announced the elimination of the last remaining areas quarantined for exotic Newcastle disease in Arizona, Nevada and Texas and reduced the quarantined area in California.
This action removes restrictions on the movement of birds, poultry and certain other articles from those areas, according to a press release.
"I commend the efforts of the federal and state officials who have worked so hard to manage this disease," said Veneman. "This is an example of what the state and federal partnership can accomplish in animal disease eradication."
Exotic Newcastle disease was first confirmed in backyard poultry in southern California in October 2002 and in commercial poultry in December 2002. It was later identified in Nevada and Arizona in January and February 2003, respectively. In April, the disease was also diagnosed in Texas.
With this action, there are no longer any areas in Arizona, Nevada and Texas that are quarantined because of END. All areas removed from the quarantine in California have gone under extensive surveillance for END and have been determined to be free of END. Of the areas being released in California, only portions of San Diego County ever had END-positive premises detected.
END is one of the most infectious poultry diseases in the world. It is a contagious and fatal viral disease that affects the respiratory, nervous and digestive systems of all species of birds. The virus is spread primarily through direct contact between healthy birds and the bodily discharges of infected birds. The disease is transmitted through infected birds' droppings and secretions from the nose, mouth and eyes. END is not a human health risk.
Crop Decisions, MO
Veneman Announces Reduction In Quarantines For Exotic Newcastle Disease
Aug. 4, 2003
Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman announced that the USDA has eliminated the last remaining quarantine areas for exotic Newcastle disease in Arizona, Nevada and Texas and reduced the quarantined area in California. This action removes restrictions on the movement of birds and poultry from those areas.
Exotic Newcastle disease was first confirmed in backyard poultry in southern California in October 2002 and in commercial poultry in December 2002. It was later identified in Nevada and Arizona in the early months of 2003. In April, the disease was also diagnosed in Texas.
Though not a human health risk, END is one of the most infectious poultry diseases in the world. It is a contagious and fatal viral disease that affects the respiratory, nervous and digestive systems of all species of birds; the disease is transmitted through infected birds' droppings and secretions from the nose, mouth and eyes.
Source: USDA Release
USDA Reduces Quarantines for Exotic Newcastle Disease
by Julianne Johnston
Ag Secretary Ann M. Veneman today announced USDA has eliminated the
last remaining areas quarantined for exotic Newcastle disease in Arizona,
Nevada and Texas and reduced the quarantined area in California. This action
removes restrictions on the movement of birds, poultry and certain other
articles from those areas.
Exotic Newcastle disease was first confirmed in backyard poultry in
southern California in October 2002 and in commercial poultry in December
2002. It was later identified in Nevada and Arizona in January and February
2003, respectively. In April, the disease was also diagnosed in Texas.
With this action, there are no longer any areas in Arizona, Nevada and
Texas that are quarantined because of END. All areas removed from the
quarantine in California have gone under extensive surveillance for END and
have been determined to be free of END. Of the areas being released in
California, only portions of San Diego County ever had END-positive premises
END is one of the most infectious poultry diseases in the world. It
is a contagious and fatal viral disease that affects the respiratory, nervous
and digestive systems of all species of birds. The virus is spread primarily
through direct contact between healthy birds and the bodily discharges of
infected birds. The disease is transmitted through infected birds' droppings
and secretions from the nose, mouth and eyes. END is not a human health risk.
This interim rule is published in the Aug. 4 Federal Register and was
effective July 30. A
Riverside Press Enterprise, CA
Inland bird owners rebuild flocks
NEWCASTLE DISEASE: After losing their pets in the outbreak, they recover with
help from friends.
By PAIGE AUSTIN / The Press-Enterprise
It was the winter of the dead ranch.
But for thousands of local bird owners, this is the summer for rebirth.
Silvester Lichtner, 59, of Perris, remembers that first morning in December when
he woke up to silence.
No roosters crowing.
No ducks to feed.
No goose to follow his every step across the yard.
His blue eyes brimming with tears, Lichtner remembers watching the state's
Exotic Newcastle Disease Task Force kill his 130 pet chickens, ducks and geese
in an effort to stop the spread of the fatal disease.
But the avian disease spread like wildfire, and throughout the winter and
spring, thousands of Southern California bird owners watched their pets ravaged
by the disease or killed by task force workers in white suits.
For Lichtner, one of the first backyard-flock owners to undergo the state's
"depopulation" sweeps, the horrible image of his "babies" being gassed to death
will never go away.
Still, Lichtner couldn't help but smile through the tears this week as friends
placed four chirping newborn Muscovy chicks in his upturned palms.
"Ya, ya, babies," cooed Lichtner, a native of Czechoslovakia.
This month, as thousands of backyard-flock owners are released from the federal
quarantine, pet owners are coping with their losses and attempting to start
over. Many who were fortunate enough to make it through the winter without
watching their flocks die are reaching out to help friends who weren't so lucky.
Celeste Tittle, who owns Ham and Eggs Ranch in Norco, donated to Lichtner
whatever birds he needed to restart his ranch Thursday, the day she received a
letter from the California Department of Food and Agriculture releasing her from
the federal quarantine.
Though friends, Lichtner and Tittle have often competed as Inland region bird
"It doesn't matter to me that he's a competitor of mine," said Tittle. "I just
wanted to show him how grateful I am that he called the task force even though
it was a death sentence for his birds. It was a hard thing for him to do, but it
was the right thing to do."
Tittle, who spent the winter under quarantine, had to refinance her house to
keep her ranch afloat because she couldn't sell pet birds or cages during the
"But I was a lucky one," said Tittle, who spent the winter dealing with tearful
frantic calls from pet owners whose birds were sick or scheduled for
Since the first case of exotic Newcastle disease was reported in October, untold
numbers of birds died because of the disease and 3.16 million commercial and pet
birds were killed by the task force at a cost of $160 million. More than 18,000
homes were quarantined -- most in San Bernardino and Riverside counties -- and
nearly 6,000 remain under quarantine.
The outbreak led to lawsuits against task force agencies, emotional town hall
meetings throughout Southern California, county-funded grief therapy for
traumatized pet owners, bird smuggling outside of quarantine areas, and tense
standoffs between frantic bird owners and task force workers.
For Litchner, Tittle and thousands of bird owners, the end of the outbreak and
the quarantine brings a bittersweet relief.
"I'll never forget the way they killed my pets . . . the silence, the dead
ranch," Lichtner said.
"I think most of us who went through it feel like Newcastle will never truly be
gone," Tittle said.
"But, finally," said Lichtner, "it's time to start again."
Reach Paige Austin at (909) 893-2106 or email@example.com
Ventura County Star, CA
Fair competitors use fake fowl
4-H kids make do with stuffed chickens
By John Mitchell, firstname.lastname@example.org
August 2, 2003
Emma Trockey, 6, of Newbury Park, a member of the Mount Boney 4-H Club, clutches
her stuffed duck as she awaits the start of the poultry showmanship competition
Friday at the Ventura County Fair.
You hate to say it, but Friday's Poultry Youth Showmanship event at the Ventura
County Fair laid an egg. But it wasn't anybody's fault.
This is the annual event in which young people get to showcase their knowledge
of their bird's anatomy and how they handle them.
Normally, between 35 and 40 youngsters participate, said Susan White, the fair's
superintendent of small livestock.
This year eight signed up and seven showed up -- with their cuddly, stuffed
Real chickens were told to stay home because of concerns about exotic Newcastle
disease, in which one sick bird can wipe out entire flocks. In January, Gov.
Gray Davis issued a ban on poultry at all county fairs.
Nonetheless, the Welcker sisters of Simi Valley came to the small livestock barn
Friday, and so did the Trockey sisters of Newbury Park, all clutching their soft
Before the judging, Cassie Welcker, 15, of the Tierra Rejada 4-H Club showed her
buff Brahma stuffed doll, a somewhat look-alike of the chicken she cares for at
home. Roxanne Welcker, 10, held a smaller pink-reddish Beany Baby named Strut,
which was substituting for her favorite Rhode Island red.
Roxanne thought it was best her chickens stayed home because if they did
contract Newcastle, "We'd have to kill all our birds, and I wouldn't like that.
We love our chickens.
"I did a lot of rehearsing and memorizing for today," Roxanne said, taking the
pink doll in her hand and rolling it in a kind of backward somersault to show
how she would expose its breastbone to the judge.
Katie Trockey, 9, sat alongside sister Emma, 6, as both patiently awaited the
start of the competition.
Katie's long, paunchy-looking doll looked like a distant relative of Big Bird.
When asked what kind of a chicken it was, she looked at it, laughed and said, "I
In the end, the judge, Conor Keegan of Los Olivas, appeared to focus on asking
questions, testing the 4-Hers' knowledge of poultry. And the children,
apparently doing well, returned to their seats with satisfied looks on their
Susan Trockey, Katie's and Emma's mother, said that despite having dolls instead
of real birds, just the experience of coming to the fair was good for her
What they did not do this year was to give their doll chickens a bath in
Woolite, clip their nails, dust for mites, get to do a walk-around at the fair,
see everybody else's birds and, if they won, get so excited, said Susan Trockey.
Her kids are winners anyway, she said. Emma's painting of a chicken won first
place and Katie's watercolor of a goose won second place and both are on display
in the Youth Building.
North County Times, CA
Newcastle quarantines may be partially lifted
By:KATHRYN GILLICK - Staff Writer
August 1, 2003
Parts of quarantines that have been in place since the deadly Exotic Newcastle disease hit Southern California chicken ranches last fall may soon be lifted, an official said Thursday.
Ralph Ernst, a poultry adviser with UC Davis and a member of a task force in charge of eradicating the disease, said the team is likely to lift parts of the quarantines in the next few weeks if there are no new infections.
He said that portions of Valley Center, where most of the local infections were concentrated, may remain under quarantine.
There are two bird quarantines in Southern California. The federal government has quarantined all of San Diego, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Imperial, Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, and part of Kern County. The state's quarantine covers all of Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties, and the western portions of San Bernardino and Riverside counties.
Since the onslaught of the disease, nearly 4 million chickens have been killed statewide to prevent the spread of the disease, half a million in San Diego County alone. Newcastle disease is not harmful to humans. The quarantines prohibit bird owners from moving their birds out of the area.
A spokesman for the task force said Thursday that he could not give any details on the future of the quarantines, but conceded that discussions have been held. He did not deny that the quarantines may soon be lifted, as adviser Ernst said, and told the North County Times there would be information available next week.
Ernst said that the quarantines, probably both federal and state, may soon be lifted in all of Santa Barbara, Orange and Imperial counties, most of Ventura County, eastern Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties, and most, if not all, of San Diego County.
Eric Larson, executive director of the San Diego County Farm Bureau, called the possible changes "fantastic."
"It's great because from a scientific standpoint, when they lift the quarantine it means there's no more disease here," he said.
Task force spokesman Adrian Woodfork said that he could not give specific information about the quarantines, saying only that there are likely to be changes to the quarantine soon. He said that more details will be available next week.
"We're optimistic," he said, "that there will be some reduction in the quarantine within the next few weeks, based on continued negative test results."
The task force is made up of members of several state and federal agencies, but is led by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and California Department of Food and Agriculture.
Members of the group are surveying every quarantined county, asking residents to allow their birds to be tested for the disease. It has surveyed all of the quarantine area except parts of Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties, Woodfork said.
All tests taken during the surveys have come back negative.
No new infections have been found since May 31.
The disease is so deadly that the task force kills all birds at a site where the disease is found.
Statewide, more than 3.9 million birds have been killed since the disease was first found in a flock of backyard chickens in Compton in October. The disease has hit 22 commercial ranches ---- including seven in San Diego County ---- and thousands of backyard flocks since then.
In San Diego County, nearly 500,000 birds have been killed. Most of those were from the local ranches where birds tested positive for the disease.
The ranches were Ramona Egg Ranch; the Armstrong Egg Ranches on Cole Grade, Mac Tan and Lilac roads in Valley Center; Ward Egg Ranch on Fruitvale Road in Valley Center; Foster Egg Ranch on Cole Grade Road in Valley Center; and Fluegge Egg Ranch on Twain Way in Valley Center.
All commercial ranches have been deemed disease-free by the task force.
The task force has spent at least $160 million fighting the disease, according to figures released in July.
The last time a large-scale outbreak of Exotic Newcastle hit the state was in 1971. That time, the government killed 12 million birds and spent $56 million over three years to stamp out the disease.
Contact staff writer Kathryn Gillick at (760) 740-5412 or email@example.com.