Because dressed poultry is cheaper and cleaner than live poultry, the Jewish public is buying it in preference to fresh-killed fowl, commission merchants testified yesterday in Brooklyn Federal court at the trial of the four Schechters for conspiracy to violate the NRA live poultry code.
Louis Spats of the West Washington Market, testifying for the defense, denied the government’s contention that the live poultry industry which, in normal times averaged a gross turnover of $60,000,000, and has now shrunk to $35,000,000 because of evil competitive practices in the industry.
Answering assertions of Special Assistant U. S. Attorney Rice that New York City is the dumping ground for diseased poultry, Spats asserted that New York City is the dumping ground for surplus poultry but not for diseased fowl. He denied that there were unfair practices within the industry.
Under cross examination Spats admitted that he and two other commission merchants approached Leroy Peterson, supervisor of the live poultry code, and asked him to quash the case against the Schechters. He caused a flurry of excitement when he quoted Peterson as saying that he would convict the Schechter brothers in order to help the industry.
Earlier in the afternoon Herbert Frankel, another commission merchant at the West Washington Court, declared that only one-tenth of one per cent of the poultry brought into this city is unfit for consumption and not two per cent as charged by Rice. He admitted, however, that he did not know that in the year of 1933, 290,000 pounds of poultry was destroyed because it was diseased.
Albert Garlick, another commission merchant, attributed the shrinkage in the industry to the fact that the younger Jewish element has switched to dressed poultry. He also charged that bad publicity has damaged the industry.
He denied that there is any diseased poultry in the city. “I can’t see how poultry can be diseased unless the government inspection is no good,” he said.
All three merchants declared that the code was ruining their business and all said they were against it. The trial will be resumed this morning.