Valley News -

Concern over Virulent Newcastle disease


Last updated 5/23/2019 at 10:13pm

I’m not sure how many people are aware of Virulent Newcastle disease. If you own chickens, you probably know because the feed stores have flyers informing the public of it.

Virulent Newcastle disease spreads when healthy birds come in contact with bodily fluids from sick birds. California has been under quarantine, but the disease is spreading. Even domestic birds can catch it.

I understand that the birds have to be euthanized to control the spread, but the manner in which CDFA is doing this is inhumane. Some situations documented; they are trying to shoot them with single shot air guns or pellet guns and breaking legs and necks by stomping on them.

State veterinarian Dr. Annette Jones said they are to be humanely euthanized. Many of these animals, such as chickens, turkeys and geese that have been killed in front of their families, did not deserve to be harmed and injured, before being killed.

All of these animals have brains, nervous system, feelings and their own personalities. We are not talking about slaughterhouse chickens, these are backyard egg layers and barn companions.

When a pet’s time has come, you want it to slip away with an ounce of peace, not terror and fear before death takes its life away.

Making it worse is the landfill disposal of the infected birds bodies, hundreds and thousands of diseased birds at the landfill with thousands of sea gulls, crows, ravens and small birds, waiting to scavenge and eat and fly back to the coast or mountains to feed their babies. Is it possible this dumping of killed birds at the dump would not further the spread of the disease?

This practice is still spreading the disease along with workers who are not following proper protocols for disinfecting the area after the killings. Body fluids have been left in yards that will most likely feed the wild birds coming in and out of the area.

The landfill rules do allow for the disposal of infected birds, but why wouldn’t we have the bodies cremated? Wouldn’t that at least insure other birds were not scavenging the dead animals.

All of the treatment mentioned and disposal of diseased birds is recorded on video, and the people in charge of the kills are denying it and hoping the greater population does not see or hear about their methods.

The disease can affect poultry and other birds. Chickens are most susceptible. Ducks and geese are the least, but the CDFA is killing geese and ducks in the kill zones even if their testing is clean.

This euthanasia has been going on for a year, obviously the methods are not working.

Please stop the inhumane killing of all barnyard and backyard birds, these are our beloved pets. We love them, talk to them and care for them every day. We are horrified the way this issue has been allowed to be handled. If nothing changes, I am sure I will lose my babies. I am heartbroken that it will happen and that it has already happened to so many southern Californians that watched their pets be abused or mistreated before being killed.

Leigh Ann Strickland


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