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Newcastle Disease Prompts Poultry Raid

State agriculture workers have killed hundreds of pet chickens, ducks and geese in rural Mira Loma to halt the spread of Exotic Newcastle disease.

In a raid on farms and ranches yesterday, officials killed some birds on the spot. Others were hauled away in plastic trash bags.

Breeder Joseph Ravida says agricultural workers came to his door and told him they have to kill everything at his ranch. He estimates he lost more than 185 rare birds. Since October, more than 450 poultry yards have been quarantined and nearly 12,000 birds have been destroyed in Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

Newcastle disease, which poses no threat to humans, had ravaged the state’s poultry industry in the 1970s. It cost $56 million to eradicate. The disease could be transmitted through feces, feed, cages as well as other materials, and can become airborne.