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Bill would allow sale of uninspected chickens

by 5m Editor
4 May 2007, at 6:52am

US - A bill to allow poultry farmers who sell fewer than 1,000 birds a year to avoid facilities inspections was endorsed Thursday by the state Senate.

Backers said they hoped to promote small poultry operations enough so that it would be economical for more slaughterhouses to open in Vermont, filling a void that makes it difficult for some farmers to process their chickens.

Rep. David Zuckerman, P-Burlington and chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, said New York had just repealed a law allowing small poultry producers to go without inspections, prompting the opening of more slaughterhouses to serve small producers.

But opponents raised the specter of tainted chicken sickening or even killing people and ruining Vermont's image as a producer of wholesome products.

The poultry provisions were contained in a far-reaching agriculture bill that also calls for working with other states to revive the Northeast Interstate Dairy Compact. It would also promote more farm energy projects like those that burn methane from cow manure to make electricity and contains a host of other measures.

One calls for the state to fund a mobile slaughterhouse that could be used by small producers. Amy Shollenberger, director of the farm advocacy group Rural Vermont, which supports the poultry provisions, said more processing facilities are needed before it's practicable to expect all poultry producers to be inspected.

The poultry provisions caused feathers to fly during Senate debate. An amendment to strike them failed after lengthy debate.

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Sara Kittell, D-Franklin, argued that with their business reputations on the line and with legal liability at stake, small poultry producers and restaurant owners would see to it that birds were processed in a sanitary fashion

Source: Boston Globe

5m Editor