Caution-There is a really gruesome account in one of the news stories copied here.
The incident I referred to happened in 1972. The killing of pet birds in the owner's house in front of the owner was protested in articles in bird fancier magazines including American CageBird Magazine. In addition to making house to house searches, government employees had roadblocks up and if you had your pet bird with you, you had a choice of going back wherever you started from no matter how far, or having it killed right there on the highway. At least they did it at the highway stops with with car exhaust. There were news stories about this with "little Bobby" crying while they killed his pet parakeet. For all I know somebody did get fired. The govt's own publications reference the bad publicity they got when killing pets in front of owners. Here's an excerpt from the USDA publication from the 1972 outbreak talking about not killing the birds in front of the owners anymore in response to those stories:
Obviously, a quarantine inspector could not tell if a
station wagon was carrying the family "budgie" out of
the quarantine zone unless the operator stopped in
response to the signs. Those that did were told that their
pet bird could not leave the quarantine zone. The owner
then had two options: (1) To return the bird to its
point of origin, which might be several hundred miles
away, or (2) to turn the bird over to Task Force
inspectors for destruction. Birds were usually put in a
plastic bag and the open end put over a car's exhaust
pipe. Death was quick and painless, but hardly aesthetic.
In the fall of 1972, several critical stories appeared in
the press on the operations of these quarantine check-
points. Partly because of this adverse publicity, pet birds
were no longer destroyed on the roadside in the presence
of their owner.
The same sort of thing was done in the 2003 Newcastle Disease outbreak, here's a news stories for you from that one, you can go check newspaper archives for more of same, start with Los Angeles Times:
Pet Birds Killed in California
Wednesday, April 16, 2003
People who keep parrots are as close to them as other pet owners are to their cats and dogs, so imagine how these pet owners feel when government officials, who are trying to control the spread of a deadly bird disease called Exotic Newcastle, come into their homes and kill their pet bird?often right in front of them. So far, the disease has killed 3.4 million birds in Southern California, many of them household parrots and parakeets. The state and federal government is talking to everyone from mail carriers to nosy neighbors, trying to identify the owners of sick birds. If a bird is suspected of having the disease, it's killed immediately.
Officials say they need to stop the disease before it wipes out the state's $3 billion poultry industry. It was first discovered in September in a backyard flock of chickens. Now are investigators going door to door, looking for sick birds.
Jeff Maxwell got nervous when he learned a task force agent wrote down his address and a description of his home, then entered it on a hand held computer with GPS. He says the task force has "carte blanche to kill any feathered thing on your property or your house regardless of whether it tests positive. The thought of somebody driving to my door and coming in and killing my bird in front of me is outrageous." He has a 22-year-old parrot.
The disease has also been discovered in Nevada and Arizona. People who move their birds out of quarantined areas could get a $25,000 fine. "Newcastle disease is the hoof-and-mouth disease of birds," says veterinarian Jack Shere. "People don't seem to grasp how important that is. You have to euthanize the few to protect the many." My note, 4 million birds were killed in 1972-73. That doesn't sound like a "few" to me.
The bulletin of the Parrot Society of Los Angeles says, "Be prepared not to allow a task force member entry into your home, no matter how polite they seem?If no law enforcement officer is with them, call 911 for help. Keep a video camera handy, with fresh film and batteries."
Lawyer William Dailey says, "If they were doing this to people's dogs and cats, there'd be such a scream down here it would be heard clear in Sacramento."
California poultry farmers Arie and Will Wilgenburg fed 30,000 live chickens into wood chippers because they were no longer able to produce eggs. They couldn't be turned into soup because the farms are under quarantine for Exotic Newcastle Disease.
District Attorney spokeswoman Gayle Stewart says the farmers asked the Agriculture Department for permission to use the wood chippers. She says, "Once they had permission we decided that they did not have any criminal intent."
Wayne Pacelle, of the Humane Society, says, "The act of feeding live chickens into a wood chipper is an extraordinarily callous and barbaric act and I can't imagine any person with a whit of common sense would use a wood chipper as a killing tool. No person with any experience in killing animals would sanction the use of this technique."
And here's another one for you:
Antelope Valley Press, CA
Petition calls for changes in fighting bird disease
This story appeared in the Antelope Valley Press Thursday, April 10, 2003.
By HEATHER LAKE
Valley Press Staff Writer
The fury over how exotic Newcastle disease is being handled reached a higher tier last month when attorney William H. Dailey filed a petition calling for clearer ways to protect pet owners from violation of their constitutional rights.
Exotic Newcastle disease was discovered in Southern California in October, and the disease has spread to areas in Nevada and Arizona. The virus, which is deadly for poultry and other fowl, is believed to have arrived from Mexico. To date it has resulted in the destruction of more than 3 million birds.
Filed with the Superior Court of the State of California County of Los Angeles on behalf of private individuals, poultry organizations and animal-rights activists, the petition requests that Gov. Gray Davis rescind his Jan. 7 proclamation declaring a state of emergency and authorizing the "expeditious disposal of poultry."
The petition is filed against Davis, the United States Department of Agriculture, the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the disease task force.
Representatives of the CDFA are defending their actions, saying the petition has no merit and should be dismissed.
The petition asserts Davis arbitrarily proclaimed the state of emergency without supportive administrative records, and that based on the proclamation, the USDA issued a declaration of extraordinary emergency. Other assertions include:
that prior to the governor's proclamation, the CDFA formed a task force to eradicate by depopulation in order to protect the economic interests of the industrial poultry industry;
that no administrative records for the preparation of a writ of mandate based on public comment exist;
that the "alleged emergency" is based upon fabricated statistics and that no grounds exist for the hasty depopulation of pets without testing or consideration of alternative remedies;
that there is ongoing and deliberate disregard for clinical studies regarding vaccines and treatment and withholding of lab test results;
that the formation of the task force was "chaotic" and has perpetuated a threatening atmosphere of fear, force and violence for pet owners at the mercy of task force employees;
that the task force is committing "mass murder" of pets, companions and show birds not proven to be infected with the virus;
that the euthanization techniques claimed to be humane are not;
that the fatality rate was grossly inflated and that only 2% to 5% of destroyed birds were known to be infected; and
that sites are being labeled as infected without evidence, and that depopulation crews are not licensed or certified avian veterinarians.