Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund
MEMBERS LOGIN
SEARCH
 
 
Defending the rights and broadening the freedoms of family farms and protecting
consumer access to raw milk and nutrient dense foods.
Like Us on Facebook Pinterest Follow Us on Twitter Grab the RSS Feed Visit our You Tube Channel Like Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Grab the RSS Feed Visit our You Tube Channel Like Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Grab the RSS Feed Visit our You Tube Channel
Action Alerts
Email Share

***USA - ACTION ALERT***

Act Now to Legalize Raising Domestic Muscovy Ducks

A rule by the U S Fish and Wildlife Service (50 CFR Part 21) went into effect on March 31, 2010 that makes it illegal to raise domestic Muscovy ducks in the U S. 

According to this bill, it is now illegal to raise domestic Muscovy ducks without a federal permit.  Even though the FWS states in a fact sheet “Even though these feral muscovy ducks bear little physical resemblance to the muscovy duck in its native range…” they make no distinction between wild Muscovy ducks and domestic Muscovy ducks.   

 

Section 21.14 of the regulation reads:

“(g) You may not acquire or possess live muscovy ducks, their carcasses or parts, or their eggs, except to raise them to be sold as food, and except that you may possess any live muscovy duck that you lawfully acquired prior to March 31, 2010. If you possess muscovy ducks on that date, you may not propagate them or sell or transfer them to anyone for any purpose, except to be used as food. You may not release them to the wild, sell them to be hunted or released to the wild, or transfer them to anyone to be hunted or released to the wild.”

Questions 3 and 4 of a fact sheet issued by the Fish and Wildlife Service reads:

3. Muscovy ducks are widely raised for food and maintained as pets and show ducks. Are these muscovies now protected? Yes, muscovy ducks are now subject to regulation wherever found in the United States and its territories, whether in the wild or in captivity.

4. Do I need a migratory bird permit to raise and sell muscovy ducks now? No. Although we amended the regulations at 50 CFR 21.14 and 21.25 to restrict possession and sale of muscovy ducks, we will not restrict possession or sale, or issue permits for this species at this time. As a result of information received since publication of the final rules, the Service has decided to revise the regulations.

Please note that this law is still currently in effect.  Only it’s enforcement is being temporarily suspended

The regulation that went into effect on March 31, 2010 requires a federal permit like the permit for breeding hawks or other raptors in captivity, in order to propagate or sell Muscovy ducks.  See 21.25, pages 5-6 of the regulation for the permit conditions.

Apparently, the Fish and Wildlife Service was “…unaware of the extent to which muscovies are maintained in captivity and did not know of any organization to inform about the proposed changes.” (from fact sheet), and the Fish and Wildlife Service is now working on revisions to the regulation.  Now is the time to make your views on this issue known to the Fish and Wildlife Service and other government officials.

Muscovy ducks have been domesticated since the 1500s.  Numerous hatcheries in the US sell domestic Muscovy ducks, many bred from Muscovies from France.  Turkeys and Muscovies were both domesticated in the Americas and both are now raised as domestic livestock around the world.  (A ‘Documentation of the Long History of the Domestication of the Muscovy Duck ‘ is attached below.)  The FWS has failed to recognize this long history of the domestic Muscovy as livestock.   Domestic Muscovy ducks are livestock, and as such should not be subject to U S Fish and Wildlife regulations.

We feel strongly that the U S Fish and Wildlife Service should recognize a distinction between wild Muscovy ducks and the domestic Muscovies that have been raised as livestock all across the world for hundreds of years, and that the U S Fish and Wildlife Service does not have jurisdiction over domestic livestock, whether raised commercially, privately, for food, as pets, or exhibition.  Please see the Suggested Letter Template below for proposed language.

We see no problem with the portions of the rules (21.54 Control order for muscovy ducks in the United States) that allows localities to control feral populations of Muscovies that have become a problem.  There does not appear to be any conflict between this control order and recognizing domestic Muscovies as livestock and exempting them from this regulation.  This should not hinder the abilities of localities to control problem feral populations of wild or domestic Muscovies.

Below you will find additional information and links:

Links to the Regulation and Fact Sheet

Suggested Letter Template

Contact Info

Documentation of the Long History of the Domestication of the Muscovy Duck 

Results of Brief Online Research Regarding Hatcheries Selling Muscovies in the US

 

Links to the Regulation and Fact Sheet

 

The final bill, 50 CFR Part 21 [Docket Number FWS–R9–MB–2007–0017; 91200–1231–9BPP] RIN 1018–AV34 Migratory Bird Permits; Control of Muscovy Ducks, Revisions to the Waterfowl Permit Exceptions and Waterfowl Sale and Disposal Permits Regulations, can be viewed at: (link)

A FAQ fact sheet prepared by the U S Fish and Wildlife Service can be viewed at: (link)

 

Suggested Letter Template

Dear Rep/Senator XXXX

I am a resident of (state or congressional district goes here).  I am contacting you in regard to the recent regulation by the Fish and Wildlife Service (CFR 21.54) regarding Muscovy Ducks.

This new regulation makes it illegal for private citizens or organizations to possess Muscovy ducks.  While I understand the need to pass regulations that help control the feral Muscovy duck problem in some communities in the United States, I feel that this new regulation overextends the rights of the FWS in regards to private ownership of Muscovy ducks.  It is my understanding that Dr. George Allen with the Fish and Wildlife Service is currently working on a revision to this new rule.  I feel that it is important that Dr. Allen gives the issues raised in this letter consideration in drafting his proposed revision.

Muscovy ducks have been domesticated since the 1500s.  Numerous hatcheries in the US sell domestic Muscovy ducks, many bred from Muscovies from France.  Turkeys and Muscovies were both domesticated in the Americas and both are now raised as domestic livestock around the world.  (A ‘Documentation of the Long History of the Domestication of the Muscovy Duck ‘ is attached below.)  The FWS has failed to recognize this long history of the domestic Muscovy as livestock.   Domestic Muscovy ducks are livestock, and as such should not be subject to U S Fish and Wildlife regulations.

I feel strongly that the U S Fish and Wildlife Service should recognize a distinction between wild Muscovy ducks and the domestic Muscovies that have been raised as livestock all across the world for hundreds of years, and that the U S Fish and Wildlife Service does not have jurisdiction over domestic livestock, whether raised commercially, privately, for food, as pets, or exhibition.  This is an unacceptable infringement on the long-standing right to farm and to feed one’s family.

I see no problem with the portions of the rules (21.54 Control order for muscovy ducks in the United States) that allows localities to control feral populations of Muscovies that have become a problem.  There does not appear to be any conflict between this control order and recognizing domestic Muscovies as livestock and exempting them from this regulation.  This should not hinder the abilities of localities to control problem feral populations of wild or domestic Muscovies.

Additional information on this issue is available online at ____________________________.

Please ask that the US Fish and Wildlife Service incorporate the following language in the revisions to the current rule:

"Domestic Muscovy shall be defined as any Muscovy that was owned prior to March 31, 2010 and it's offspring.", and

"Domestic Muscovies have a long history of domestication and have long been raised as livestock both in the United States and around the world.  Domestic Muscovy are not subject to this regulation."

I have copied this letter to _________________________.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

________________________

 

 

Contact Info

U S Fish and Wildlife Service

Dr. George Allen
703-358-1825 (direct line, voice mail may be full)
703-358-1825 (main number)
George_T_Allen@fws.gov
contact@fws.gov

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
1849 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20240
http://www.fws.gov/duspit/contactus.htm

Chief, Office of Migratory Bird Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4401 North Fairfax Drive, Room 634, Arlington, Virginia 22203 (fax: 703/358-2272 phone: 703-358-1714).

 

You can find contact information for your representative in the house and senate at these links: 
House of Representatives and Senate

 

Ken Salazar , Secretary of the Interior
Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, N W
Washington, DC 20240
202-208-3100
E-Mail: feedback@ios.doi.gov


Senator Lincoln, Arkansas – Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee
912 West Fourth St., Little Rock, Arkansas 72201
800-352-9364
202-224-4843
Fax: 501-375-7046;   202-228-1371
If you are a constituent, you can e-mail at: http://lincoln.senate.gov/contact/email.cfm

 

Documentation of the Long History of the Domestication of the Muscovy Duck 

 

  1. "Muscovy Ducks had been domesticated by various Native American cultures in the New World when Columbus arrived. The first few were brought to Europe by the European explorers at least by the 1500s."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muscovy_Duck

  2. This book chronicles the long history of the domestication of Cairina moschata domestica.

    Donkin, R.A. (1989): Muscovy duck, Cairina moschata domestica: Origins, Dispersal, and Associated Aspects of the Geography of Domestication. A.A. Balkema Publishers, B.R. Rotterdam    ISSN/ISBN 9789061915447

  3. “The dog (Canis familiaris) was already domesticated when early humans entered the western hemisphere. Over the ensuing millennia Native Americans domesticated comparatively few indigenous animals, in contrast to the many animals that were genetically and behaviorally modified from their wild ancestors through captive controlled breeding in the Old World. New World animal domesticates included only two large birds (the turkey in North America and muscovy duck, Cairina moschata, from Mexico south into South America), a medium-sized rodent (guinea pig, Cavia porcellus), and two camelids (llama, Lama glama, and alpaca, Vicugna pacos).”

    http://www.springerlink.com/content/l892508146x46141/

  4. "The muscovy duck (Cairina moschata) was domesticated in Colombia and Peru before the arrival of the conquistadores."

    http://www.britannica.com/facts/5/25314/Muscovy-duck-as-discussed-in-anseriform-bird-order

  5. "HISTORY mentioned L'Hist nat des Oyseaux p 176 fol. Paris published 1545  then being mainly black variegated with other colours ie wild colouration.Confirmation source 'The Poultry Yard' by Peter Boswell"

    http://www.domestic-waterfowl.co.uk/mozzie.htm

  6. This is a link to a page from 'Poultry Breeding and Genetics' by R. D. Crawford.  This traces domestication back to the 1500s and through Africa, Taiwan, France, etc.


  7. "When the first American poultry show was staged in Boston in 1849, three people exhibited Muscovies.  In 1874, when the first American Standard of Perfection was compiled, the White Muscovy was included, even though colored birds were more common." (link)

Results of Brief Online Research Regarding Hatcheries Selling Muscovies in the US

 

How long have hatcheries been selling domestic Muscovies in the United States?  The following are my notes from a brief online attempt to answer this question.

  1. Grimaud Farms, California 

    Grimaud Farms parent company has been raising Muscovy ducks since 1965, with breeding stock from France.

    "A breed apart - Originating in the warm climates of South America, the Muscovy duck is a breed apart from the rest. It is by far the leanest domesticated duck breed. Long the favorite of Europeans, Muscovy now the duck of choice here in the United States.

    All natural - Groupe Grimaud, our former parent company, has been raising Muscovy ducks since 1965. To take advantage of all this experience and ensure the genetic quality of our products, (French consultants continue to visit our operations every year). The birds are barn-raised without the use of steroids, antibiotics or growth hormones. We don't hurry nature: we grow our ducks for 70-85 days compared to 42-45 days for most Pekin ducks. This allows the bird to fully mature. Feed is carefully selected for a balanced diet and for the best possible yield and flavor."

    http://www.grimaudfarms.com/duck.htm

  2. J M Hatchery sells Muscovies from breeding stock from France.

    http://www.jmhatchery.com/ducks/white-muscovy-ducks/prod_4.html

  3. Ridgway Hatchery sells Muscovies.

    http://www.ridgwayhatchery.com/ducks.htm

  4. McMurray Hatchery has been selling Muscovy eggs for over 20 years.

    http://www.mcmurrayhatchery.com/assorted_muscovy_duck_eggs.html

 

The above info is from just the first few results from googling "hatchery muscovy".

This link will take you to the entire list of results for googling "hatcheries muscovy".

 

Last edited 04/06/10