Spring 1996 Poultry Press
Noz bonz Update

The last PoultryPress described a vicious experiment to keep "broiler breeder" roosters from eating the hens' food in the breeder houses. Until he is 7 1/2 months old, a rooster's head is still growing and is thus small enough to poke through the hens' grill. "Breeder" hens and roosters are kept on separate semi- starvation diets throughout their tormented lives because of mating and fertility problems caused by genetic selection for chronically hungry, overweight offspring for the meat industry.

Jeanna Wilson, a poultry researcher at the University of Georgia, recently did a research project in which she jammed a "noz bonz"--a 2 1/2 inch plastic stick--through the nasal cartilage of 5 month old roosters. UPC requested a copy of the research protocol and information on the current status of the project. J. Roger Broderson DVM, Director, Animal Care & Use, told UPC,

"The research involved the use of plastic intranasal implants for controlling feeding behavior of male domestic chickens in a breeding population. The implants were used for a limited field trial which was sponsored by poultry producers. No deleterious effects of the implants were reported. The University of Georgia policy encourages review of research proposed for all vertebrate animals. However the Animal Welfare Act excludes considerations for avian species. This study was not reviewed by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee."

Except for "endangered species," birds are excluded from federal protection in the U.S. The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, which regulates the use of animals under the Animal Welfare Act, told UPC (letter 9/2/94): "If we were to amend the definition [of animal] to include birds, we would then be legally required to develop, publish, and enforce standards for birds and inspect all bird facilities. Besides being a tremendous task to develop standards for all the different species of birds used in research, exhibited to the public, and sold into the pet trade, we have neither the staffing nor the funds to handle the regulation of additional species of animals." (Bolding was added by the editor to point out the staggering number and variety of birds being used without a jot of protection from the federal government.)

What Can I Do?

The "noz bonz" is under continuing investigation by UPC. Without laws to protect these birds, major public protest is crucial. Contact Dr. J. Roger Broderson, The University of Georgia, Boyd Graduate Studies Center, Athens GA 30602-7411. Tell him birds have been scientifically shown to experience pain the same as mammals. In addition to pain receptors, chickens have olfactory sensitivity. With or without the Animal Welfare Act, the university has an obligation to protect them from having plastic sticks jammed through their faces.Contact Dr. Jeanna L. Wilson, Poultry Science Dept. The University of Georgia, Four Towers Bldg. Athens GA 30602-4356.
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