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March - April 2000


Recovering from Terrorist Acts

In November of last year vandals destroyed much of Washington State University's Avian Health Laboratory in Puyallup. Everything from analytical equipment to computers and lab windows were broken. In a press release the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) claimed they performed the acts to "take a stand against the commodification of life."

Damage to the laboratory was roughly $100,000.00. The following organizations quickly came forward and pledged to monetarily support the lab's refurbishing:

Washington Egg Commission $20,000 (cash)

Washington Fryer Commission $10,000 (in-kind gifts)

According to Dr. Bernadette Alisantosa, the laboratory is 90% back to normal. Of course, no amount of money can restore people's nerves and sense of security.

In late December, Fulton Processing, Inc. employees found four incendiary devices at the corporation's poultry processing plant in Sonoma County. The arsonists had planted the devices in the plant office and other locations. Plant property, such as lab coats and butcher paper, had been doused with flammable liquid and the devices set nearby. Fortunately, the one device that went off prior to being discovered malfunctioned.

Fulton Processing has been picketed in the past by Animal Rights protestors. The authorities immediately began an investigation to identify those responsible. According to Mr. Simon De La Cruz (Plant General Manager) no arrests have been made. Plant management has initiated a 24 hour staffed security program.

Since August multiple research plots at UC Davis have been destroyed. These include a quarter-acre of corn genetically engineered to resist herbicides, a quarter-acre of sugar beets being studied by Cooperative Extension Weed Specialist Robert Norris, a half-acre of corn being used in the doctoral research of Sandra Kessler, 178 English Walnut trees, a half-acre of tomatoes, and one third acre of melons. The claim of responsibility for these acts has come from Reclaim the Seeds. This group says it acted to increase public awareness about the purported dangers of genetically engineered food.

While not all of the plants and trees destroyed were genetically engineered, they were all part of research projects. Their destruction was not only an illegal act, but had the result of lost taxpayer funds and scientist hours.

Just as this issue was going to press, word was received that the Sonoma County Farm Bureau office had been vandalized. The vandalism was discovered by Farm Bureau President, Richard Oluff. The criminal(s) had gained access by throwing a brick through the rear window of the office building. While the only theft was two dollars from the petty cash box, five thousand dollars of damage was done to the office. It appeared that the object of the break-in was to disrupt office operations.

Sonoma County Farm Bureau has offered a $50,000 reward following the recent attacks by animal activists on producers and processors in Northern California. No official "claim" was received relative to the attack on the Farm Bureau office. However, an Animal Liberation Front (ALF) spokesman contacted by the press implied that it was a retaliatory action by ALF.

Unfortunately, it seems that terrorist activities are on the rise. All those involved in animal agriculture (and agriculture in general) should be ever vigilant and cautious about their personal safety and the welfare of their animals.

-Francine A. Bradley
Poultry Specialist

Food Service Company Takes Proactive Measures

Poultry producers and scientists often complain that a conscientiously produced food can be quickly contaminated by mishandling in the food service arena. No amount of regulations and voluntarily performed quality assurance steps on the part of the producers can prevent contamination of the product once it leaves the ranch or processing area.

The Unique Restaurant Corporation of Bingham Farms, Michigan has instituted a mandatory immunization program for its employees. Some 250 employees involved in jobs such as cooking, dish washing, and kitchen management are being vaccinated against hepatitis A. Given that the infectious disease can be transmitted by infected food handlers to the food, the corporation is spending $30,000 in this vaccination program.

Similar programs coupled with education of all restaurant personnel in safe food handling techniques would be a boon for food producers and consumers. Congratulations to Unique Restaurant Corporation for its pioneering work.

-Francine A. Bradley
Poultry Specialist

AB 2141 - Molting Ban

Assemblyman Ted Lempert introduced Bill No. 2141 in the California Assembly on February 23, 2000. This bill would add a fifth article to Chapter 11 of Part 6 of Division 104 of the Health and Safety Code. Basically it "would make it an offense to induce or force the molting of egg-laying birds that results in harm to the birds, as defined. The bill would make the offense punishable by an unspecified fine."

The Bill has been referred to the Assembly Agriculture Committee chaired by the Honorable Dennis Cardoza (California State Assembly, State Assembly, Sacramento, California 95814). At this writing, the Assembly Agriculture Committee was scheduling the date to hear this bill. For up-to-date informa-tion, contact Debbie Murdock at Pacific Egg and Poultry Association (916) 441-0801.

-Francine A. Bradley
Poultry Specialist

Avian Influenza Attacks Northern Italy

At the recent Western Poultry Disease Conference, Dr. Zanella of Milan=s Institute of Veterinary Microbiology and Immunology, reported on Italy=s battle with Avian Influenza. In March of last year, chickens, turkeys and broilers in Northern Italy began showing respiratory and enteric symptoms. Mortality in the light egg layers ranged from 1.7 to 9.5% and egg production decreased by 10-40%. The causative agent was determined to be Avian Influenza serovar H7N1.

Dr. Zanella recounted that very recently this densely poultry-populated region of Northern Italy has been hit with a much more pathogenic form of Avian Influenza. Mortality has reached 100% in some of the older birds. Both chicken and turkey flocks have experienced acute disease outbreaks.

Diagnostic tests reveal that while the virus has not changed its antigenic characteristics, it has become highly pathogenic. The increasingly deadly profile of the virus is a great challenge to the scientists working to protect the more than 150 million birds in this region.

-Francine A. Bradley
Poultry Specialist

4-H Poultry Alumnae Capture Scholarships and Awards at Pacific Egg and Poultry Association (PePa) Convention

Several Avian Sciences students from UC Davis were recently hosted by the Pacific Egg and Poultry Association at their annual convention in San Diego. The generous members of the poultry industries provided the students with free registrations, meals, entertain-ment, and gorgeous rooms at the Paradise Point Resort.

Katherine Plumer (Sacramento County) received her 3rd PePa Scholarship ($2,000) and chaired the Avian Sciences Club scrapbook committee. Their scrapbook was judged No. 1 from all the West Coast campuses.

Nora Elsalawy (San Diego County) received her 3rd PePa Scholarship and won the award for Outstanding Presentation during the Student Presentation Session.

-Francine A. Bradley
Poultry Specialist

San Diego Siting

While in San Diego for the Pacific Egg and Poultry Convention, your editor happened upon the Broken Yolk Cafe. Located in Pacific Beach, this spanking clean breakfast and lunch spot is a local favorite. They feature 24 different omelettes plus the usual array of egg-containing breakfast items. Their logo (a yolk profile made to look like a setting sun, a palm tree, and then some broken yolk in the foreground, similar to a wave on the beach) and motto "we've got huevos!" is emblazoned on everything from t-shirts to bumper stickers.

The Broken Yolk Cafe has been voted "Best Breakfast House" by San Diego Magazine. My breakfast and the service were both outstanding. The next time you are in San Diego County stop by 1851 Garnet Avenue, Pacific Beach (858/270-YOLK) and thank them for doing such a good job on egg promotion.

-Francine A. Bradley
Poultry Specialist

National Poultry Waste Management Symposium

When: 8:00 a.m. October 16 to 5:30 p.m. October 17, with industry tours on October 18, 2000.

Where: Sheraton Fontainebleau Hotel, Ocean City, Maryland

Primary Audience: Mid-Level Industry Managers, University and Allied Industry Personnel, Regulators, Growers, and Farmers

We offer reduced registration for growers and students.

Secondary audience: All others, including environmental groups

The mission is to provide cutting edge, timely, and hard hitting presentations that will assist the industry to fulfill their individual and collective environmental protection responsibilities. The meeting will also enable networking among participants.

The program is established and managed by a committee of volunteers from the poultry system, which includes all industries, allied industries, university and government.

For further information, contact:

Richard Reynnells, National Program Leader, Animal Production Systems, USDA/CSREES/PAS, Room 3702, Waterfront Center; 800 9th Street, SW, Washington, DC 20250-2220

Telephone: 202/401-5352, Fax: 202/401-5179; 1706; 6869, E-mail:

Emu Producers Mount New Promotional Efforts

The United Ratite Cooperative (URC) staged a very successful promotional event on March 4th. URC members from Shasta to San Diego Counties were involved in planning and staffing a Mardi Gras Festival at the Nimbus Winery in Sacramento.

The Mardi Gras menu featured jambalaya, Cajun Joe, and grilled emu. The recipes were prepared for the event by Virginia and Robert Hoffman of Santa Rosa. The authors of some 17 cookbooks (including The Great Turkey Cookbook and The Great Chicken Cookbook), the Hoffmans are hard at work on what will be the definitive emu cookbook.

The festival included booths on an assortment of emu based products. These ranged from cosmetics to leather goods to art work. Adult visitors enjoyed the emu-based entrees, wine and Cajun music, while children were encouraged to craft items using emu egg shells. The latter activity was coordinated by the 4-H Emu Project in El Dorado County.

The event was such a success that Nimbus Winery officials have already booked the URC to do an expanded event for Mardi Gras 2001. The Mardi Gras and several other related stories are being highlighted on two upcoming segments of "California Heartland." Look for them on your local public television channel.

-Francine A. Bradley
Poultry Specialist


July 16-18, 2000

California Poultry Federation (CPF) Summer Board Meeting, Embassy Suites, San Luis Obispo, 805/549-0800. Executive Committee Meeting, July 16; Golf outing and evening reception, July 17; Board Meeting, July 18, 9:00 a.m. For registration and information contact Bill Mattos 209/576-6355 or e-mail Mark Looker at

*August 8, 2000

Poultry Health Symposium, Stanislaus County Agricultural Center, Modesto, CA. For more information contact Dr. Carol Cardona, Veterinary Medicine Extension, Surge III, Room 1383, University of California, Davis, CA 95616; telephone 530/754-5041 or Dr. Joan Jeffrey, VMTRC, Tulare, CA ; telephone 559/688-1731.

*August 9, 2000

Poultry Health Symposium, Riverside, Location to be announced. For more information contact Dr. Carol Cardona, Veterinary Medicine Extension, Surge III, Room 1383, University of California, Davis, CA 95616; telephone 530/754-5041 or Dr. Joan Jeffrey, VMTRC, Tulare, CA; telephone 559/688-1731.

.August 20-24, 2000

89th Annual Poultry Science Assn. Meeting, XXI World's Poultry Congress and 6th International Symposium on Marek's Disease, Montreal, Canada. For more information telephone 514/286-0855 or e-mail or visit

September 20-21, 2000

CPF Annual Meeting and Conference, DoubleTree Hotel, Modesto, 209/526-6000. Annual Meeting and Banquet, September 20; Conference, September 21, 8:00 a.m.-12:00 noon. For registration and information contact Bill Mattos 209/576-6355 or e-mail Mark Looker at

October 17-18, 2000

National Poultry Waste Managment Symposium. See article in this issue.

October 18-20, 2000

National Meeting on Poultry Health & Processing. Sheraton Fontainbleau Hotel, Ocean City, Maryland. Contact: Sharon Webb, Delmarva Poultry Industry Inc., RD 6, Box 47, Georgetown, DE 19947-9575, USA; Fax 302/856-1845.

*Approved for CEQAP continuing education credit.

Francine A. Bradley, March/April Editor
Extension Poultry Specialist
Animal Science Department
University of California
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616-8521
Tel. (530) 752-6316
Fax (530) 752-8960

Ralph A. Ernst, Technical Editor
Extension Poultry Specialist
Animal Science Department
University of California
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616-8521
Tel. (530) 752-3513
Fax (530) 752-8960