The California Department of Fish and Game is working cooperatively with the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the US Department of Agriculture to combat the spread of Exotic Newcastle’s Disease in Southern California, but the DFG is not directly involved in the actions being taken to halt the spread of this potentially devastating disease. The state and federal Agriculture departments have the lead and have formed a Task Force to deal with the problem.
Actions taken so far include rigorous inspections, quarantines and the destruction of infected flocks. As of January 10, 2003, the regulated (quarantined) areas include Imperial, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange, Los Angeles, Ventura, and Santa Barbara Counties. The Task Force is currently developing a permitting procedure for the movement of birds, but it is still in the works.
The degree of impact this outbreak will have on clubs hosting field trials and hunt tests will depend on the locations of their bird source and their test site. Birds may be brought into the regulated areas, but they CANNOT be TAKEN OUT of the regulated areas. This includes dead birds as well as live ones, since an infected carcass still carries the virus that causes the disease. The penalty for moving birds out of the quarantine area is a $25,000 fine. The good news, for now, is that birds, dead or alive, CAN be moved WITHIN the regulated areas.
All of this may change at a moments notice.
For more specific information call the Public Information Office for the END Task Force at (562) 795-1996.