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Murder in the Midwest — Farmer Sentenced

LAST OCTOBER, UP TO 27,000 RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS AND OTHER SPECIES WERE FOUND DEAD IN FARM FIELDS OF SOUTHERN ILLINOIS (Across the River from St. Louis, headquarters of major agricultural corporations).

Male Red-winged Blackbird on display

An unnamed farmer deliberately laced his fields with Carbofuran, a pesticide known for 30 years to kill birds. This slaughter was the biggest kill-off of American birds in this country since the Valdez. Red-wings are migratory birds protected by Federal law. (Native-American birds cannot be slaughtered.   Introduced species such as the Starling, the English Sparrow, and most common European Pigeons are not protected.)

We're happy to report that "justice" has prevailed.

Harvey Kenneth Culli, age 80, pleaded guilty as charged, in June. On September 11, 2000 the US District Court fined him $5000 and sentenced him to 3 years probabion plus court costs of $15 -- a significant increase over past penalties.

The Belleville (Illinois) News Democrat, (and Fox television) reported thoroughly. The following development appeared on page one, August 11, 2000, and demonstrates a welcome determination to make such incidents both unacceptable and unprofitable:

Photographs special courtesy of Don DesJardin, Ventura, California.

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