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USDA Poisons Birds, Confirms Human Superiority

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BIRD IN THE HAND
DailyFeed
Birds may be high on the US Department of Agriculture’s food pyramid, but on its food chain they’re lower than cows, sunflowers and flying people.

The agency poisoned some 2,000 starlings 10 miles south of Yankton, SD, where 300 of them turned up dead Monday.

USDA wildlife biologist Ricky Woods told MSNBC that the birds were eating feed and pooing on a north Nebraska cattle feedlot, inciting the agency to lay out a last supper of DRC 1339 for them.

"Lethal means are always a last resort," Woods reportedly said. "In this situation it's what we had to do."

Birds are simply too crafty, and cow feed too irresistible, to fall for farmers’ first resort, scarecrows.

DRC 1339, code name “starlicide” has been the USDA’s go-to chemical compound for protecting cash crops since researchers in 1966 noted its particular effectiveness on starlings. Starlings and blackbirds are the scourge of agribusiness because they eat sunflowers and corn, cutting into the profits from these multibillion businesses.

Two years ago at this time, the USDA poisoned 5,000 starlings in Franklin Township, NJ, and 10 years ago outlined a plan to down 2 million blackbirds in the Midwest to spare the crops.

Even Brooklyn birds are targets. In a macabre avian World War II reenactment, the agency rounded up -- “culled” in USDA vernacular -- some 400 geese from Prospect Park and gassed the birds with carbon dioxide, according to the New York Times.

Geese are considered a menace since they downed a US Airways flight in 2009 by flying into the engines.

Flying people: 1; flying animals: 0.
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.
TAGS:  USD, AGRIBUSINESS, DEAD BIRDS    SOURCE:   New York Magazine

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