15 Aug 2011

Marshalls chickens suspected of dying from metallic poisoning

3:14 pm on 15 August 2011

The Senator of Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands says there are suspicions that metallic poisoning could have led to the deaths of more than 100 chickens over the past month.

Tony deBrum says during the past four weeks, the chickens have been dying gradually on Carlson Island, near a United States Army missile testing range.

Senator deBrum says laboratory tests by the Army have ruled out Avian Influenza and Newcastle Disease as the cause of death.

He says the chickens could have died from metallic poisoning from scrap metal or lead batteries.

"Exactly the same symptoms. Their eyes get clouded, they become blind and then they begin to get lethargic. And the technicians from the Agricultural Department here in Majuro is the one who reported that he thought that they were being constipated prior to dying."

Tony deBrum says he is expecting the Army to determine the cause of death before the end of the week.