"Egg Farm's Shipments To Landfill Cause Concern"
(The Hartford Courant)
March 27, 2003 
By Andre Bowser, Courant Staff Writer 

MANCHESTER -- The town's landfill has accepted more than 120 tons of dead chickens from an eastern Connecticut egg farm this month, but officials are now suggesting that the state find an alternative. 

Kofkoff Egg Farms, one of New England's largest egg producers, would like to dump more of the chickens in early April. The chickens were euthanized because they could no longer lay eggs, so-called spent hens.

Kofkoff is under a state-mandated quarantine because of a confirmed outbreak of a form of avian flu. The quarantine means the company can no longer ship spent hens out of state to food processing companies that deal in such things as chicken soup and pet food.

"The state is looking for other alternatives ... other landfills ... and we would prefer that they found some other alternatives," said Louise Guarnaccia, the town's director of operations.

Guarnaccia said that so far the state hasn't gotten back to her about the alternatives. She pointed out that the town has not agreed to accept new shipments of chickens. 

The spent hens did not die of the flu strain, but were exposed to it, state officials said. 

Toby Moore, a spokesman for the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council, said that disposing of spent hens that have been exposed to any sickness has always been a problem for the industry. 

"There was a similar outbreak last year in Virginia," Moore said. "Disposal was one of the biggest ongoing problems for the egg industry for many years."

Manchester officials would like the chickens to be someone else's problem.

"I certainly don't like the idea of it," said Christy Scott, a town director.

Acting Agriculture Commissioner Bruce Gresczyk could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Guarnaccia said the state is trying to find some other sites where the birds can be disposed of. Manchester's is one of only a handful of landfills in the state.

Irvin Slike, the sanitation administrator for the town, said it took three consecutive days for all the Kofkoff hens to be brought to the landfill, from March 17 through March 19. 

By the last day, Slike said, eight trucks had dumped more than 120 tons of chickens at the town's 65-acre landfill. 

 "We had a trench ready," Slike said pointing to the area where the chickens are buried under 10 feet of soil. "This is it, they came in, dumped a huge tarp-liner" filled with chickens, he said, referring to the leak-proof containers the chickens were transported in.

"The company said that they may be bringing more chickens," Slike said, "but another alternative would make Manchester happier."

Staff Writer Christine Dempsey contributed to this story.