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,
"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.