Updates/Action Alerts


“Protesters want no part of emu slaughter”

Frederick News-Post (MD), Monday, April 22, 1996
Emu illustration by Jazelle Lieske
illustration by Jazelle Lieske

Mount Airy - At a protest in Mount Airy, where an emu farm is located, Dr. [Karen] Davis and approximately 30 others used bullhorns, banners and signs to try to build opposition to what they said is a movement by investors to slaughter emus for food and other uses because it is profitable. . . ."

Emus Declawed by Toe Removal

Under the guise of consideration for the "safety" of farmed emus, a report from Western Australia describes the declawing of emu chicks by removing the end of each toe with a hot debeaking machine. Animals Today, Feb-April 1996 quoted from the Dept. of Agriculture Western Australia: "Place the chick's toe on the lower rest bar and, while holding the thumb as close to the cutting blade as possible, lower the cutting bar with the foot pedal. Aim for the middle of the second scale behind the nail. Avoid sloping the cut in the wrong direction. . . . The chick will react to the heat of the blade and a degree of skill, dexterity and speed is required. . . . The small inside toes are the most difficult to treat. Check that the remaining two toes are below the rest bar before you operate the foot pedal. Inexperienced operators should practice manipulating the toes of the chicks and operating the foot pedal with the blade removed and the machine turned off before attempting the procedure for the first time. You may find it easier to commence with the outside toe of the left foot and treat each toe in order from left to right."

In the U.S., the "first West Coast, university-based ratite research program has been established at Oregon State University. . . . The first goal of the program is to learn how to produce these birds efficiently. . . . The new ratite research program, which will focus on emus, is jointly supported by OSU and the Oregon Emu Association."
The Oregon Scientist 9.1 (Spring 1996)

What Can I Do?

  • Protest the ratite (emus, ostriches, and other flightless fowl) research program at Oregon State University. "Research" means food deprivation, claw removal, slaughter trials, drugs, electric shock, gassing, and disease inducement. Contact: Dr. Paul Risser, President, President's Office, Oregon State University, Kerr Administration Bldg., Rm A-646, Corvallis OR 97331. ph: 541-737- 2565; fax: 3033; e-mail: risserp@ccmail.orst.edu.

  • Tell the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture you do not want ostriches and emus defined as livestock or poultry. To date, the USDA has not classed ratites as livestock or poultry, and no regulations have been issued. In 1995, the USDA published "Ratite Slaughter Guidelines," an interim provision. The "Guildelines" describe removal of the feathers of the living birds before slaughter. For a copy of the 20-page "Ratite Slaughter Inspection Guidelines" and to protest the agricultural classification and use of ostriches, emus, and other flightless fowl, contact Office of Slaughter Operations Staff, Room 4434 South, USDA Food Safety & Inspection Service, 14th & Independence Ave. NW, Washington DC 20250 (ph: 201-720-7163).