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FACT Petitions to End Poultry Litter as Cattle Feed

by 5m Editor
14 August 2009, at 7:35am

US - Animal welfare organisation, Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT), is petitioning the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) to ban the use of poultry litter as a cattle feed because of the health risks.

To curb the serious health risks caused by the practice of feeding poultry litter to cows, FACT is launching its Filthy Feed Campaign. The Campaign is a national initiative to educate consumers about this unhealthy and inhumane practice, and to leverage public interest to bring about policy change at the US FDA.

The first phase of the Campaign kicked off on 13 August when FACT formally petitioned the FDA to prohibit the practice. The Campaign shines a spotlight on the dangers of poultry litter as feed and responds to consumers' expectations that there is not filth in their food.

"It wasn't long ago that contaminated pet food poisoned hundreds of cats and dogs," remarked Richard Wood, FACT's Executive Director. "We've learned the hard way that cheap feed doesn't always equal good feed. Cows deserve better than toxic leftovers."

FACT says that poultry litter consists primarily of manure, feathers, spilled feed and bedding material that accumulate on the floors of the buildings that house chickens and turkeys. It can contain disease-causing bacteria, antibiotics, toxic heavy metals, restricted feed ingredients including meat and bone meal from dead cattle, and even foreign objects such as dead rodents, rocks, nails and glass. Few of these hazards are eliminated by any processing that might occur before use as feed. The resulting health threats include the spread of Mad Cow Disease and related human neurological diseases, the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria, and the potential for exposure to toxic metals, drug resides, and disease-causing bacteria.

An FDA ban on feeding poultry litter to cows is not out of the question, according to FACT. In 1967, the FDA banned the use of poultry litter as cattle feed. It later revoked this policy in 1980. Currently state agricultural agencies have the authority to regulate the substance, but few monitor it, allowing serious health threats to go undetected and unchecked. FACT believes this blatant disregard for animal and human health should no longer be permitted.

"The FDA must step in and ban poultry litter as cattle feed once and for all," stated Mr Wood.

The Campaign includes an on-line grassroots component, media relations, and consumer advocacy efforts.

FACT encourages individuals to visit its special web site (click here) to sign a letter of support, download a comprehensive scientific report of the practice and learn more about the issue.

FACT says its petition to the FDA has been endorsed by 12 major consumer, environmental and sustainable agriculture organisations.