Bird Poisoning Case Finally Settled
Roger Kahn, a former candidate for U.S. Congress, hit with fines and probation after poisoned corn killed thousands of birds in Bartow County.
When folks near White, Ga. reported dead birds falling from the sky in late January, 2003, wildlife officials scrambled to the area and searched for the cause of a significant bird kill. They found the answer in poison-laced corn on the property of Roger Kahn, a two-time candidate for U.S. Congress.
In January 2005, Kahn, along with farm manager Glenn M. Bramlett and Kahn Cattle Co., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to violations of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The company also pleaded guilty to a violation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. The penalties included more than $267,000 in restitution and fines. A negotiated plea agreement also stipulated a sentence for Kahn and Bramlett of 60 days home confinement, one year probation, along with a $15,000 fine and 160 hours community service, and the agreement stipulated that a paid advertisement detailing the sentence be placed in GON (page 109).
According to officials, Kahn and Bramlett spread corn laced with a chemical known as Warbex around a pond in Bartow County on property owned by Kahn Cattle Co. The poisoned corn was reportedly spread to control the number of geese. Warbex is the tradename for the liquid form of famphur, an FDA-regulated chemical used to treat insect infestations on cattle. In 1996, the FDA issued a special alert warning that Warbex was being used illegally by some cattle farmers.
“There have been reports of death of wild birds due to the deliberate misuse of Warbex, and even in some cases when the product is used properly. Warbex is being misused by soaking grain and other items in the liquid famphur,” the 1996 FDA report said. “The contaminated grain or other products are then used as bait or as a delivery vehicle to poison birds, rodents, or predators. This practice introduces famphur into the wildlife food chain. Endangered species, as well as other predatory and scavenging birds, including eagles, hawks, owls, and buzzards, etc., have died as a result of eating these poisoned birds.”
After the poisoned corn was spread at Kahn Cattle Co. land, federal and state agents collected 3,326 birds, including red-tailed hawks, doves, Canada geese, blue jays, red-winged blackbirds, a great horned owl, a mallard duck, a cardinal, a brown thrasher and other birds.
In 2000, Kahn lost to Bob Barr in a race for a U.S. House seat after wining the Democratic primary. In 2002, Kahn again won the Democratic primary by defeating longtime congressman Buddy Darden, but Kahn lost to Phil Gingrey in the newly drawn 11th District.