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CE Helps to Solve Disposal problem in eradicating Exotic Newcastle Disease.

The Issue

In October, 2002, a devastating foreign animal disease was discovered in several small flocks of chickens in Southern California. By December, Exotic Newcastle Disease had spread to large commercial flocks of egg-laying chickens. To eradicate the disease, over 3.5 million chickens had to be euthanized and disposed of.

Sending the dead birds to landfills was the safest and most feasible option for disposal. At the time, covering the carcasses with several feet of compacted soil was the only accepted method of disposal. However, not enough soil was available at the landfills to dispose of so many carcasses in that way. Some other method of burial had to be developed.

What Has ANR Done?

Doug Kuney, a UCCE poultry farm advisor, worked with the Riverside County Waste Management Department and the private company operating the El Sobrante landfill to develop a biosecure and rapid method of covering the carcasses with 12 feet of trash that could be compacted to form a three-foot cover, thus reducing the need for additional soil. Each delivery of carcasses could be completely covered within 10 minutes with an impervious layer of compacted trash that would prevent access by sea gulls and other scavengers that could spread Exotic Newcastle Disease.

A video tape of the disposal procedure was developed and presented to the CDFA and the USDA for their approval of the disposal method. The video was then used as a guide to train other landfill operators in Southern California who received birds from infected flocks. This video has now been widely distributed throughout the United States.

The Payoff

Commercial garbage covers diseased chickens, saving time and resources

The disposal method provided an environmentally safe and effective approach to the disposal of infected birds. This method, approved by USDA, enabled landfills to continue receiving carcasses throughout the effort to eradicate Exotic Newcastle Disease in California.


Supporting Unit: Riverside County

Doug Kuney, UCCE Riverside County, Highlander Hall C-142, UC Riverside, Riverside, CA 92521
(909) 787-2099 drkuney@ucdavis.edu