United Poultry Concerns
Promoting the compassionate and respectful
treatment of domestic fowl

PO Box 150 • Machipongo, VA 23405-0150
(757) 678-7875 • FAX (757) 678-5070

March 2, 2002
Contact: Karen Davis 757-678-7875
Cruelty Complaint Lodged in Rural Hall, NC Against TRACTOR SUPPLY
200 Young Chickens Reported Suffering from
Malnutrition, Dehydration, Waste, and Body Sores
"It made me so upset, I think someone ought to do something immediately. Please respond."

Machipongo, VA - United Poultry Concerns received this call for help by email from employees at Clayton Heating a mile away from the Tractor Supply store in Rural Hall, North Carolina, 10 miles north of Winston-Salem. According to their report, Tractor Supply has "approximately 200 chickens in 2 bins that are 4-5 weeks old and dying daily. They've been in these bins for weeks and are being given away if you buy a bag of feed for $19.00. However, when we were over there yesterday, we rescued 5 of them, and the others were really pitiful - sitting in their own waste, pecking each other making bleeding sores, and these chickens are sick."

Yesterday, United Poultry Concerns President Karen Davis called the senders of this message to confirm the complaint and current status of the birds, who were said to be in terrible condition. We contacted Tractor Supply and spoke with a clerk who confirmed that the birds are listless, overcrowded, and showing scabs and sores. She said the water seemed "discolored" with antibiotics.

The chickens were flown as airmail from a hatchery in Iowa called Whelp, Inc. This is one cause of their debilitated condition. Chicks flown as ordinary mail like a package are bereft of temperature regulation, handling considerations, and other measures afforded to live animals shipped on airlines. Last year Northwest Airlines said that up to 30 percent of chicks die during transport.

Chicks deprived of food for more than 48 hours, as is common in airmail shipping, have no yoke sac nutrients left and are undergoing dehydration. Because of the transport, crowding, filth, and lack of sustenance, the chicks being used to promote sales by Tractor Supply, based in Nashville, TN (Steve Elliott 615-366-4889), are traumatized and unwell, and may be harboring Salmonella and Campylobacter.

United Poultry Concerns is calling upon the news media to investigate the chicks at the Tractor Supply store in Rural Hall. Use of the chicks for sales promotion is run by Lisa Wurth at the Tractor Supply headquarters in Nashville. Her number is 615-366-4837.

"My telephone call with Lisa Wurth on Friday, March 1st confirmed my fear that Tractor Supply has little or no concern for the welfare of these birds," says UPC President Karen Davis. "Ms. Wurth said Tractor Supply district manager, Cameron Mann, was at the store earlier in the day and said the birds are fine."

Based on the written complaint and our follow-up phone calls to Tractor Supply and Clayton Heating, we believe these birds are sick and should be removed from the store immediately and humanely cared for or else euthanized immediately.

United Poultry Concerns was given helpful information by the Forsyth Humane Society and has left a voice mail message with the Forsyth County Animal Control requesting investigative assistance with a view to removal of the birds from Tractor Supply.

If the birds are removed and can be temporarily housed and cared for, United Poultry Concerns will arrange to give and to find permanent homes for as many of the birds as possible. We have already spoken with local residents who are willing to help. Our own sanctuary in Machipongo, Virginia is accredited by the American Sanctuary Association and The Association of Sanctuaries.

These birds should not be replaced by a new set of birds. The situation, including the inhumane transport of the chicks as mail from out of state like packages and letters, is inherently cruel and inhumane, regardless of Tractor Supply's intentions.

For more information, contact Karen Davis at 757-678-7875

United Poultry Concerns is a nonprofit organization that promotes the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl. For more information visit www.UPC-online.org

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