Roving Reporter

December, 2002

DISCLAIMER: This is submitted by an anonymous source and has been totally verified. Do not contact us for any further information since this is the only infomation we have at the current time! The identity must be protected since the reporter must protect the sources. Some/much of this information was obtained due solely to personal contacts who do not wish their identities known to State Authorities. If you have any verifiable information that you can add, send email and we will pass the information on to the proper person. Specific inquiries or questions will NOT be answered.
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Roving Reporter
Update - December 31, 2002
Quarantine Clarification
There has been some confusion about the "extended quarantine". The quarantine now covers all of Los Angeles County, many of the western parts of San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, all of Orange County and all of San Diego County. Please see the details of the areas covered as listed under Notice of Regional Quarantine Affecting Bird Owners Effective November 13, 2002 for the boundaries and then add San Diego County and Orange County to that. (LINK)
There is a map that the CDFA has produced in regard to this which we have on our site. (LINK)
As far as the species that are quarantined at this time, the list includes:
Poultry species quarantined: Chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, grouse, partridges, pheasants, quail, guinea fowl, pea fowl (peacocks), doves, pigeon, swans, ratites, (emus, os-triches, rheas, etc.) and their eggs.
Sanitized eggs may now be moved per the CDFA Press Release of December 30, 2002.
There have NOT been any restrictions placed thus far on exotic birds and, again, the species are limited to those above. This is clearly subject to change.
This may NOT apply to movement of birds of any kind outside of the State of California to or through other states so that would have to be checked with each state.

Roving Reporter
Update 3 - December 29, 2002
Important Question regarding Feed
We noticed that one of the owners of a feed company has been depopulated in regard to his egg ranches.
Is it possible for feed to have been contaminated (for example, feed produced by his company Star Milling)?
ANSWER (we cannot reveal our source, however, it is a quite reliable one):
Feed is an unlikely (not impossible) vector.

Roving Reporter
Update 2 - December 29, 2002
Partial Retraction
In regard to the Roving Reporter of December 28, 2002, Update 1, the following statement was made:
"With the state of California budget is such sad shape, I do not think the CDFA will take many more hits of large egg ranches before they turn this mess over to the USDA for them to handle."
Due to information received on this date from the UC END list, we would like to partially retract this statement due to the following which appeared today on the UD END list:
"The funds for the END control effort are from USDA except for the considerable input of time from State, County, University and industry employees." (LINK) - Look for Update of December 29, 2002.
We apologize for our misstatment.

Roving Reporter
Update 1 - December 29, 2002
END in the Antelope Valley
Yesterday, we reported to you that our sources had told us there were quarantine areas in Lake Los Angeles, CA. Today, the Los Angeles Daily News reports that quarantine areas exist in Littlerock, CA which is very close and could even overlap Lake Los Angeles. (LINK - look for report from December 29, 2002.)
The article does mention some (non-speficied) parrot owner who stated that there had been a previous incidence of END in Lake Los Angeles, however, that had never been known to us. The previous outbreak in the Antelope Valley that we are aware of was at another location close to 20 miles away from Lake Los Angeles in the area known as Lancaster (Avenue E near 63rd Street East as previously reported in the Roving Reporter on October 8, 2002 - see older reports).
That does not rule out a previous outbreak in Lake Los Angeles, however. The State has been quite reluctant to disclose locations of specific outbreaks and the media was not involved to any extent at that point in time.

Roving Reporter
Update 2 - December 28, 2002
The CDFA has flunked so far - but this is not a drill!
Our sources tell us they have now quarantined locations in Lake Los Angeles, an area which is a sort of suburb of Palmdale, CA. That shows that many still are not taking this seriously enough and people are moving birds or having contact with other people's birds against all the warnings. The CDFA is doing a miserable job in informing all the public of the problems we face.
Biosecurity was only asked for and not ordered by the CDFA. They are still only "asking" and not ordering. It was up to each person to comply and it is clear that they didn't and who knows what their future intentions are at this point.
There is a lot about this outbreak that has been very frustrating. While we at Cocka2.Com were begging them to do more publicity coverage and directly contact feed stores and ALL media outlets in October, 2002, they did little or nothing. Had they tried to publicize this at the outset and definitely make biosecurity measures mandatory, this would not have gone as far as it has.
The CDFA has done a remarkably bad job of handling this outbreak. Considering the fact that the entire country has been stepping up security to combat and avoid any bioterrorism attacks, it certainly shows the ineptness of the State of California to deal with a problem caused by an "accident" of possibly only a few contaminated gamefowl from south of the border. It should allow you to sleep easier at night knowing that our borders are so open that this "accident" will cost the taxpayers millions of dollars and that the CDFA, by their reactive instead of proactive stance, has allowed this outbreak of END to become a disaster which will certainly effect the economy of the entire State if not also the country.

Roving Reporter
Update 1 - December 28, 2002
END Explosion Spells Disaster
Looks like this END outbreak has made it to the big time - two confirmed commercial egg laying ranches and another suspected. The suspected ranch is far out of the quarantine zone, being near Ramona in San Diego County. The two confirmed are owned by the same person. I suspect poor biosecurity on workers traveling between the two locations was the cause of this spread between them and also that either got it in the first place.
Lets put political correctness aside for a few minutes here, folks, and take a look at what is happening. We pretty well know this END outbreak started with game fowl owned by Hispanics. There has been little to no coverage of this outbreak by the Hispanic media and from talking to people, I have found that many Hispanics do not believe there is anything wrong. A common belief is that there is no disease at all, that this is just a ploy to get rid of game fowl. While the CDFA is telling all the commercial growers that they should not allow their employees to own personal fowl or to visit anyone who keeps fowl, to think that the employees are following this is laughable at best. Keeping chickens for food, laying and fighting chickens is a deeply ingrained Mexican cultural tradition. Even if the employee himself may not keep any chickens, you can bet his friends, neighbors or relatives do and that he would still visit these locations.
Mrs. Cramer, the wife of the owner of the two depopulated egg ranches is saying it must have gotten in via wild birds. My friends, I feel that is the biggest load of chicken manure I have heard all week.** I have seen egg ranches before and the layers have limited, if any, access to wild birds. Wild birds in regard to a commercial operation is as far fetched as the fabled feral fowl that were spoken of in Mira Loma. A much more likely scenario would be the egg ranches had poor biosecurity and END was brought in by an employee and carried from the first location to the second by an employee because of the lack of biosecurity again.
If the Hispanic media picks this story up at all, which in my opinion is doubtful, the focus will be on the poor employees who are out of work because the birds got sick. The egg ranches had about one hundred thousand chickens killed because the owners neglected proper biosecurity.
Now for me, here is the scary part. According to the Riverside Press-Enterprise, the owner of the two egg ranches also is the president of Star Milling, a large animal feed company. If you live in Southern California, there is a good chance you have seen their products at feed stores. The large brand name they are sold under is Ace High feeds. They made a good product and I have used them for my (pet only) fowl and horses for years. I have no way of knowing if the feed or bags were contaminated due to poor biosecurity. I buy a large supply at once and last purchased it several weeks ago. What I have left is being dumped and replaced with another brand. With the egg ranches being depopulated, it seems to me a case of what goes around comes around since Ace High sold one of the few game fowl feeds with the Mexicali Mix they marketed. Their own product may have helped kill their birds.
The outbreak in the Ramona area is a little more troublesome. I really doubt that any of the fabled feral fowl traveled the 90 some miles by themselves. Either END is present in the San Diego County area and the CDFA has not warned us or there was a biosecurity breakdown at another location. Does this location get its feed from Star Milling? If so, we could have one hell of a vector for spreading this to commercial and home locations as well. Did this ranch send its eggs to the same location for processing? If so, there could be other egg ranches to be hit soon.
With the state of California budget is such sad shape, I do not think the CDFA will take many more hits of large egg ranches before they turn this mess over to the USDA for them to handle. I do not know what the state is paying for commercial layers (and they are paying the two depopulated ranches) but I think each layer should be worth at least $10 considering chick cost and the cost of feed and labor to get it old enough to be a layer. At ten dollars per bird and one hundred thousand birds, there is a cool million into the pockets of the "Mexicali Mix" king.
** Please note "Free-flying wild birds apparently had no role in the spread of VND during that outbreak (16)" in reference to the 1971 END outbreak in California. (LINK)

Roving Reporter
Update - December 15, 2002
No Appeal on Death Sentence?
It certainly appears that the CDFA has not only ignored its own guidelines and the information which had been passed down to distribute by sending a death squad to many premises under false or misleading conditions. The whole procedure smells of a lack of due process in Mira Loma where information to the people whose birds were killed was either non-existent or totally in error. Please see the news article from The Press-Enterprise for details (LINK - look for report from December 15, 2002.)
Do you want to believe Rico's story (we have seen her act before - check back in the Roving Reporter for details) or the residents who called and were told their birds would not be killed without tests? We know who we believe.

Roving Reporter
Update - December 11, 2002
Possible END in Orange County, CA
We have received a report that a positive END peacock was found very recently in Trabuco Hills. While this might be considered to be on the borderline of Riverside and Orange Counties, the area is most commonly placed in Orange County. This could possibly lead to a quarantine placed on Orange County as well.
The area is only about 14 miles away from Wildomar and about 18 miles away from Mira Loma where depopulation has been reported in the media. (LINK and look for reports between November 26 and 29, 2002.)

Roving Reporter
Update - December 10, 2002
Bird Breeder Facing Her Flock Being Killed
On Dec 9, 2002, it has recently been reported on more than one Internet mailing list that a bird breeder in Riverside, CA is about to have her fids killed. This breeder raises Indian Ringnecks, Cockatiels and other hookbills.
The story goes that END was "found" some three blocks away and the breeder has been told that all of her birds were going to be depopulated (killed).
No testing has been done nor has been planned to be done on her birds to date. Please note that the assurances of which some sources have been trying to convince us of the CDFA following the USDA settlement in the Gunderson case are now concluded to be false. Later follow up showed the AFA Gunderson case to be a total fairy tale.
Question 1: Where is the AFA?
Question 2: Why doesn't the fabled flock of feral fowl ever contract END and die off?
We have been informed that when a premise is placed is placed under quarantine, there is a number to call to appeal. If that should happen to you or anyone you know, tell them to appeal immediately and demand that testing be performed before their birds are slated to be killed. We cannot guarantee this will help but, at the least, this step should be taken. We do not know what transpired in the above situation.
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