The following excerpt is from an article by Stephen P. Hoffert in
The Scientist (www.the-scientist.com), July 20, 1998,
"Researchers Take Strides Against Salmonella":
"Induced Molting Questions
[USDA immunologist Peter S.] Holt became interested in
finding more effective strategies against SE [Salmonella
Enteritidis] when he was doing research on the effect of molting
on the chicken's immune system. In that research, he found that
"induced molting" raised the risk of SE infection in chickens and
raised bacteria counts in those already infected. Induced molting
is a common but controversial practice among egg producers in the
U.S. Farmers, observing declining egg production in flocks, stop
feeding chickens to produce weight loss and force molting
[molting = feather loss]. . . .
"Activists such as Karen Davis, president of United Poultry
Concerns, have taken a strong view of the research and say that
the connection between Salmonella infection and induced molting
ought to prompt egg producers to abandon the practice. Davis says
the practice of induced molting is really forced starvation of
laying hens and serves only the economic interests of producers.
'Research has shown that Salmonella and forced molting are
linked,' Davis says. 'This fact is concerning, but the bottom
line is that this practice is cruel to chickens. Hens are
essentially starved, and many die because of this practice.'
"According to guidelines on molting from feed companies,
chickens are fasted [sic: a fast is a voluntary denial of food.
The correct term for involuntary food deprivation is starvation.
UPC editor's note] for 12 days to achieve a body weight reduction
of about 30 percent. If mortality during this period exceeds 0.5
percent per day for the flock, egg producers are advised to
resume normal feeding [not out of pity but because the
economically acceptable number of dead hens is being exceeded.
UPC editor's note]. Davis says this practice, among others
utilized in the egg and poultry industry, is inhumane. She is now
leading a campaign urging FDA to outlaw the practice in the U.S.
"In some European nations, health concerns and public
pressure have prompted policymakers to ban the practice of
induced molting. In the USDA's Pennsylvania Pilot Program for
risk management of SE in flocks, farmers have stopped induced
molting in chickens known to be infected with SE. But Holt says
it is unlikely that research relating SE and induced molting will
ultimately prompt U.S. egg producers to completely abandon the
practice. 'Egg producers face a difficult situation,' he says.
'Many view induced molting as essential for maximizing
productivity of laying hens. SE infection, of course, has a cost
and they will have to find a way to balance these economic
U.S. Department of Agriculture immunologist Peter S. Holt,
quoted above, has been starving hens in government-sponsored--
make that your tax dollars--experiments for years, then
publishing reports that the starvation of chickens promotes
immune system breakdown, diseases, contaminated feather and
mouse-feces consumption, and death. Contact Peter Holt and
academic career force-molter, Donald Bell. Urge them to take a
stand against forced molting and to use their influence in the
egg industry to stop the practice.
Peter S. Holt, PhD |
SE Poultry Research Lab
934 College Station Road
Athens, GA 30605
Donald D. Bell
Dept of Poultry Science
University of California, Riverside
900 University Avenue
Riverside, CA 92521
- UPC's petition requesting the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
to eliminate forced molting was filed by the FDA on April 14,
1998 under docket number 98P-0203/CP. Urge the FDA to grant our
petition (filed jointly with the Association of Veterinarians for
Animal Rights). Include docket number 98P-0203/CP when you write
|Dockets Management Branch|
Food and Drug Administration
Dept of Health & Human Services
12420 Parklawn Drive, Room 1-23
Rockville, MD 20857
- Mass consumption of eggs and products with eggs is the basis of
forced molting. Please stop buying eggs and foods that include
egg whites and other egg ingredients. Read labels. If we lack the
power and the will to change ourselves, how can we hope to change
the government, the egg industry and their flunky researchers
when the same amount of money--from our own pockets!--keeps
rolling in? Order Replacing Eggs today and STOP CRACKING!