Choclate Not for Birds

To: Birding Aus <>
Subject: Choclate Not for Birds
From: Laurie&Leanne Knight <>
Date: Sun, 14 Apr 2002 20:11:26 +1000
I saw this item last week - may be of interest to some
April 8, 2002 
Chocolate Not for Birds: Livestock Owners Alert 

Contacts  Thomas J. Healy 413/253-8274 or Diana Weaver 413/253-8329

A feed supplement used by dairy farmers can be deadly to wildlife, according to
Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Healy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in
the Northeast. The discovery was made when a concerned dairy farmer in Monkton
alerted Vermont state game wardens to a sudden die-off of several ring-billed
gulls at his farm. The cause was suspected to be the ingestion of chocolate, a
supplement added to ground bread fed to dairy cows.

Carcasses and feed samples were sent to the Service?s National Forensic
Laboratory in Ashland, Ore. Analysis revealed the cause of death to the birds
was thiobromine and caffeine toxicity as a result of eating chocolate, Healy
said. Chocolate can also be toxic to some mammals, including dogs, foxes and 

Federal and state authorities are requesting that individuals using this type of
feed supplement make every effort to prevent birds from gaining access when
storing or making it available to livestock. A suitable covering, screen or
enclosure should be used to prevent wildlife from accessing the feed, according
to Healy. 

Under the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act, killing birds protected under the
Act is a criminal violation, whether done intentionally or unintentionally,
unless the Service issues a permit to do so, Healy said. 

To report similar incidents of poisoned wildlife, or for further information,
contact the Service?s special agent in Essex Junction, Vt., at 802-879-1859 or
the local Vermont state game warden through the nearest state police dispatch 

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