Anorak News | Stuff The Chickens

Stuff The Chickens

by | 17th, February 2006

‘“BIRD FLU: WILL ALL POULTRY GET JAB?” It’s the Mail’s big front-page question. And there is no easy answer.

While we British, a nation of animal lovers, are sensitive to the need to keep our domestic flocks healthy, shouldn’t we be worrying more about ourselves?

For weeks the Mail has been reporting on the Government’s lack of readiness should the deadly H5N1 virus mutate and be passed from human to human. There aren’t enough vaccines for us all. What vaccines there are might not work. We are all going to die in some horrible game of chicken.

Now the paper is concerned not about humanity – ostensibly, its readers – but about the chickens. Good that chicken-kind has a champion. But, like any number of Mail readers, we must clack our marmalade-coated tongue and ask what chickens have ever done for us?

Where were chickens when the Nazis were knocking at our door? Did chickens bring home the Rugby World Cup? Has a chicken – and think hard on this one – ever won a Brit award?

The answer is a consistent and narrow “No” to all three posers. But still the Mail presses on. It says there are 150million edible birds alive in the UK. “Experts” (and who by now is not an authority on avian flu?) say that two cold snaps on the Continent will “drive potentially-infected” birds over to Blighty’s warmer climes.

To keep the domestic birds safe they must be protected, and that means vaccinating them. Which brings us back to the Mail’s opening line: will birds get the jab?

The paper hears the Department for Environment Food And Rural Affairs say that vaccinations are “one option” for controlling bird flu. “It is part of our contingency planning but it would be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.”

And with 150million birds to interview, examine and process this is no small matter.

So go tell the birds to form an orderly queue outside the vets. And don’t get too close, and avoid osculation – you wouldn’t want to catch anything…’

Posted: 17th, February 2006 | In: Tabloids Comment | TrackBack | Permalink