"Euthanized Chickens End Up In Landfill"
(The Hartford Courant)
March 22, 2003
By Steven Goode, Courant Staff Writer 

MANCHESTER -- The town landfill has become the final resting place for nearly 50,000 euthanized chickens in the past week, and many more are expected to join them in the near future.

The chickens, which were brought to the landfill in eak-proof, covered containers, are from Kofkoff Egg Farms, which has several facilities in the state. Its Bozrah and Lebanon flocks have been quarantined because of an outbreak of avian influenza.

Acting state Agriculture Commissioner Bruce Gresczyk said Friday the hens did not die from avian influenza, but were euthanized because they were no longer useful or no longer laying eggs. But because the chickens had been exposed to the virus, the carcasses - which Gresczyk said would normally be used in soup - cannot be moved across state lines to be processed. There are no processors in Connecticut.

The chickens are buried under 2 feet of topsoil, away from the active side of the landfill and any free-draining liquids.

Manchester General Manager Steven Werbner said Friday that the farm has so far dumped more than 100 tons of chicken carcasses at the Olcott Street landfill, which is one of a handful still operating in the state. 

Werbner said that he initially had reservations about accepting the chickens because of the potential for disease.

"But we were assured by the state Department of Environmental Protection and the state Department of Agriculture that there was no reason for concern," Werbner said.

Werbner said that aside from the novelty of the cargo, landfill employees are familiar with proper disposal methods and residents around the landfill shouldn't notice any changes in air quality.

The landfill charges $100 a ton for disposing of the chickens and is expecting an additional two or three similar-sized deliveries in the next few months, Werbner said, adding that the town has the option of not accepting any more deliveries.

Bruce Sherman, a doctor for the state Department of Agriculture, said earlier this week that the quarantine of the chickens will not be lifted at Kofkoff egg farms in Bozrah and Lebanon until health officials are sure that the virus has been eradicated.

Sherman said that the department has filed a plan with the USDA to combat the virus, including vaccinations and bio-security measures, but that it could be months before
the quarantine is lifted.