Live chickens are sold at Heart of the City Farmers’ Market at UN Plaza, but feces is being served up along with fowl, according to an animal rights activist, who is working to shut down the chicken sales.

The presence of poop alone should be enough to shut down live poultry sales at the market, says Andrew Zollman of activist group LGBT Compassion. Zollman has for a year recorded what he believes is a litany of state and local health code violationssome of which are available for viewing on YouTube — perpetrated by Raymond Young Poultry of Modesto, who has sold chickens and other fowl at the market since 1993.

Live chickens are extremely popular with the market’s Chinese-speaking clientele, many of whom then travel with the birds, which are stuffed into shopping bags, on public transportation. For a time, some used food stamps to purchase the birds, which is another violation (since shut down by Zollman’s efforts. The market is now cash-only).

Here’s what’s wrong: the birds come into contact with their own feces before they’re sold, there’s bird poop on the plaza near the Young’s tarp-covered truck, and there’s bird poop on the bags chickens are sold in, which are then taken into the market area near the fresh fruit and vegetables, according to Zollman, who says the YouTube video evidence corroborates his claims. “We’ve so far been unable to get any city or county officials to enforce this or other violations,” he told the Appeal.

The California Food and Retail Code does not prohibit live animal sales at farmers’ markets, though there are restrictions on pets’ presence at any “food facility”. Sales of poultry — the definition of which includes live animals — are allowed under the law. Young’s farmers’ market permit allows him to sell live poultry.

Despite Zollman’s efforts, the sales continue — with approval from the city. Investigations by workers from the Department of Public Health have unearthed at least two health violations in the past six months, according to Eileen Shields, a department spokeswoman.

One, in June, was considered fixed within a week. A second, last month, led the DPH to ask market manager Christine Adams and the Youngs to post security guards to prohibit customers with just-bought live chickens to enter the market, and to keep the area in front of the Young’s market area free of bird crap.

Since June, the market has been “monitored quite frequently,” according to Lisa O’Malley, a DPH food inspector, and “both Raymond Young and Christine Adams have complied with all DPH requests. The problem is with maintenance.”

As in the poop. At the market on Wednesday, the area in front of the Young’s stall seemed clean and clear. “They said the bags were dirty and the floor was dirty,” said Christina Ly, who manages sales for Raymond Young (her father). “But now everything’s fine. They tell us to sweep the floor and keep the bags clean, and we do it.”

Adams, the market manager, was busy when approached by a reporter Wednesday. Her walkie-talkie radio crackled. She was on the move. “We have a chicken situation,” she said, weaving through bag-toting shoppers looking for the problem: someone had crossed the line and brought one of the Young’s live chickens into the market.

“Look for the pink-top[ped plastic bag],” she said, before finding the perpetrator — a woman carrying a child on her back as well as a full load of groceries — and escorting her to the perimeter.

Adams believes there’s nothing wrong at her market. “[Raymond Young] is legal,” she says. “He does everything he needs to do. He has his paperwork.” She wants Zollman to stop protesting. “It’s bad for business,” she says.

Still, she would like to see Zollman and the Youngs come to a mutual agreement. They’ll have the chance to do that next month, when everybody – Zollman, the Youngs, and Adams — are scheduled to sit down with a mediator who is expected to address the protests as well as a gay slur allegedly made against Zollman by a Young market worker in August (as penance, Zollman is requesting that market staff undergo LGBT sensitivity training, and make cash donations to Larkin Street Youth Services’ HIV Prevention and Castro Youth Housing Initiative programs).

Adams hopes the mediator, an attorney, can convince Zollman to stop protesting, and get the Youngs to do what they need to do to please Zollman — which, unfortunately, appears to be nothing short of packing up to Modesto and never returning.

“We don’t believe it’s possible for HOC to comply with public health laws when they’re selling animals at a market where they’re prohibited at,” Zollman says. “However, even if they somehow complied, we still wouldn’t be satisfied, as all of the other animal social problems will still exist.”

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  • sunnysunset

    So what you’re saying is those people buy the live chickens (with some free poop included in the bag), then get on MUNI, and proceed to rub and touch the seats, floor, handles, doors, other riders, etc. with their live chicken and poop bag while commuting back to their homes…. Great!!

    Now I not only have to avoid homeless grime/feces on the trains but chicken sh*t as well.

  • sunnysunset

    So what you’re saying is those people buy the live chickens (with some free poop included in the bag), then get on MUNI, and proceed to rub and touch the seats, floor, handles, doors, other riders, etc. with their live chicken and poop bag while commuting back to their homes…. Great!!

    Now I not only have to avoid homeless grime/feces on the trains but chicken sh*t as well.

  • DT

    In much of non-rural Asia live meats and fresh vegetables are not sold in the same markets. The animal products are sold in wet markets.

    If the Chinese want a live animal market that appeals to the recent arrivals, they can go about construction of a building that meets health and building codes, employ on-site sanitation workers, and pay the water bills. Once it is finished, the small farmers can lease spaces.

    It is unlawful to bring live food animals on MUNI.

    Why does San Francisco ignore known health hazards to appease non-citizens?

    Sweeping simply moves the fecal matter, it does not clean it up. I will never shop at the Civic Center Farmers Market because I have no desire to inhale fecal matter, whether human or otherwise.

  • DT

    In much of non-rural Asia live meats and fresh vegetables are not sold in the same markets. The animal products are sold in wet markets.

    If the Chinese want a live animal market that appeals to the recent arrivals, they can go about construction of a building that meets health and building codes, employ on-site sanitation workers, and pay the water bills. Once it is finished, the small farmers can lease spaces.

    It is unlawful to bring live food animals on MUNI.

    Why does San Francisco ignore known health hazards to appease non-citizens?

    Sweeping simply moves the fecal matter, it does not clean it up. I will never shop at the Civic Center Farmers Market because I have no desire to inhale fecal matter, whether human or otherwise.

  • Erik

    Do you have an indoor bathroom?

  • Erik

    Do you have an indoor bathroom?

  • someone

    i can’t say i’m a fan of these protesters. these folks don’t protest safeway, or whole foods. they don’t protest places selling live poultry in chinatown. i guess the market is an easy target. its funny because i talked with a few and some aren’t even from the neighborhood! for the most part its more of the same, well-off picking on the poor.

    if they hurt or shutdown the market it’s a grave disservice to the people of civic center, an area without good food options. some of the farmers having been coming to the market for years, even decades and this market runs the most EBT for a farmers market in sf. while fancy vegans can afford to buy at the ferry building or whole-foods,or another overpriced ‘health’ store (many of these have their own questionable politics), a lot of people can’t — if you’ve ever been on food stamps or had to struggle to put food on the table, beyond ‘eating ramen’ in college, you know this.

    harm to animals is cruel but what is happening in civic center is small potatoes. when you take on tyson or kfc i support you but i don’t here. if that’s true about homophobic remarks by the vendor thats not acceptable, but the protestors pressure tactics remind me too much of those used by people who try and stop planned parenthood and womens clinics.

    i’m glad its going to mediation, and hope it finds some resolution. i really hope these protesters grow or get perspective but i am skeptical of their maturity

  • someone

    i can’t say i’m a fan of these protesters. these folks don’t protest safeway, or whole foods. they don’t protest places selling live poultry in chinatown. i guess the market is an easy target. its funny because i talked with a few and some aren’t even from the neighborhood! for the most part its more of the same, well-off picking on the poor.

    if they hurt or shutdown the market it’s a grave disservice to the people of civic center, an area without good food options. some of the farmers having been coming to the market for years, even decades and this market runs the most EBT for a farmers market in sf. while fancy vegans can afford to buy at the ferry building or whole-foods,or another overpriced ‘health’ store (many of these have their own questionable politics), a lot of people can’t — if you’ve ever been on food stamps or had to struggle to put food on the table, beyond ‘eating ramen’ in college, you know this.

    harm to animals is cruel but what is happening in civic center is small potatoes. when you take on tyson or kfc i support you but i don’t here. if that’s true about homophobic remarks by the vendor thats not acceptable, but the protestors pressure tactics remind me too much of those used by people who try and stop planned parenthood and womens clinics.

    i’m glad its going to mediation, and hope it finds some resolution. i really hope these protesters grow or get perspective but i am skeptical of their maturity

  • LGBTcompassion

    A few corrections and comments:

    1) State health laws prohibit ALL live animals, not just “pets,” within 20 feet of food for sale at farmers’ market. These laws are violated when customers bring their live bird purchases or pets into the main market, when the two live bird vendors drive through the market (as in the linked video), and when market customers bring live birds into their restaurants.

    2) Food stamps (aka SNAP) continue to be accepted at the market, just (presumably) no longer for the illegal purchase of livestock, in accordance with USDA regulations.

    3) There is no pending mediation regarding LGBT Compassion’s protest activities, and no potential agreement to stop the campaign. The only mediation is through The Human Rights Commission, regarding a possible settlement of anti-gay/HIV discrimination complaints,which would avoid a formal investigation by the City Attorney.

    @someone: why would you (incorrectly) assume that animal advocates do not campaign against all other animal abuses, such as the cruel and filthy factory farms that supply grocery stores (the same ones supplying this market)? And why would you assume that vegans are “fancy” or wealthy? Many of us have, or currently do, struggle financially, just like anyone else. Eating healthy vegan food (beans, rice & produce) is an easy way to save money on food and health expenses!

    We the fact that this market makes affordable, healthy, fresh produce available to low-income persons. However, that doesn’t give it a license to engage in any unethical or illegal activities it wishes. Fortunately, if its mismanagement and defiant violations of local, state and federal laws caused its permit to be revoked, it would still continue under direct management of the city, similar to the Alemany Blvd. market (which wisely prohibits live animal sales).

  • LGBTcompassion

    A few corrections and comments:

    1) State health laws prohibit ALL live animals, not just “pets,” within 20 feet of food for sale at farmers’ market. These laws are violated when customers bring their live bird purchases or pets into the main market, when the two live bird vendors drive through the market (as in the linked video), and when market customers bring live birds into their restaurants.

    2) Food stamps (aka SNAP) continue to be accepted at the market, just (presumably) no longer for the illegal purchase of livestock, in accordance with USDA regulations.

    3) There is no pending mediation regarding LGBT Compassion’s protest activities, and no potential agreement to stop the campaign. The only mediation is through The Human Rights Commission, regarding a possible settlement of anti-gay/HIV discrimination complaints,which would avoid a formal investigation by the City Attorney.

    @someone: why would you (incorrectly) assume that animal advocates do not campaign against all other animal abuses, such as the cruel and filthy factory farms that supply grocery stores (the same ones supplying this market)? And why would you assume that vegans are “fancy” or wealthy? Many of us have, or currently do, struggle financially, just like anyone else. Eating healthy vegan food (beans, rice & produce) is an easy way to save money on food and health expenses!

    We the fact that this market makes affordable, healthy, fresh produce available to low-income persons. However, that doesn’t give it a license to engage in any unethical or illegal activities it wishes. Fortunately, if its mismanagement and defiant violations of local, state and federal laws caused its permit to be revoked, it would still continue under direct management of the city, similar to the Alemany Blvd. market (which wisely prohibits live animal sales).

  • LGBTcompassion

    Sorry, I just realized my reply to you below incorrectly said you assume we don’t protest other factory-farm issues, I was thinking of a comment from someone else.

    But why should we ignore this because it’s on a relatively small scale? The fact that it’s small and visible, and (presumably) not controlled by powerful and corrupt corporations, makes our efforts potentially much more effective. It’s also happening right in my backyard (yes, I live in the neighborhood).

    If you were walking near your home and saw someone beating a dog, would you simply ignore it? I couldn’t. Would you think it would be better to instead put that effort into trying to investigate and shut down a dog-fighting ring or a puppy mill?

  • LGBTcompassion

    Sorry, I just realized my reply to you below incorrectly said you assume we don’t protest other factory-farm issues, I was thinking of a comment from someone else.

    But why should we ignore this because it’s on a relatively small scale? The fact that it’s small and visible, and (presumably) not controlled by powerful and corrupt corporations, makes our efforts potentially much more effective. It’s also happening right in my backyard (yes, I live in the neighborhood).

    If you were walking near your home and saw someone beating a dog, would you simply ignore it? I couldn’t. Would you think it would be better to instead put that effort into trying to investigate and shut down a dog-fighting ring or a puppy mill?

  • Belulah

    this seems less like a public health issue and more like a personal moral vendetta against the chicken vendors. 1) everybody and everything poops 2) wash your hands when you get off the bus.

    good luck with that chastising vegan thing you got going on protester man, you bug me and i don’t even eat meat.

  • Belulah

    this seems less like a public health issue and more like a personal moral vendetta against the chicken vendors. 1) everybody and everything poops 2) wash your hands when you get off the bus.

    good luck with that chastising vegan thing you got going on protester man, you bug me and i don’t even eat meat.