Man pleads guilty to poisoning birds

Friday, November 29, 2002

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- A Greene County farmer has pleaded guilty to a federal charge of illegally using an animal drug to kill 10 migratory birds.

Donald E. Smith, 54, had been charged in September with using Warbex as a poison. Warbex has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration only to treat grub and lice on cattle, and any other use violates federal law, U.S. Attorney Todd Graves said. In his plea this week in U.S. District Court, Smith admitted using Warbex in a way that killed seven red-tailed hawks, one Cooper's hawk, one northern cardinal and one white-crowned sparrow.

Farmers sometimes mix Warbex with grain or corn and put it in fields to kill nuisance birds, such as sparrows, which in turn are sometimes eaten by migratory birds with fatal results, Graves said.

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