Thursday, April 06, 2006

Bird Flu

Bird flu has reached Britain - it was always going to, so now at least, the waiting game is over. I'll be interested to see people's reactions. I know that our downstairs neighbour was particularly worried about the pigeons defecating all over her path a few months ago - and she made it very clear, over and over, that we had to do something about it (to the point where we did, actually, but my ears were bleeding by the end of it).

And I'm sure now I'll probably get an earful about feeding the birds in the garden. As I love having birds there, and we do live near a lake with ducks etc, I thought I should look into it. We're nowhere near Scotland, but it's worth being sure about things. Being realistic here: bird flu is transmitted by poo (at least the nasty H5N1 virus has been). And despite bird poo landing occasionally on my shoulders or head, like a gift from the gods, in day-to-day life only a few people in the community really come near it in any quantity. So, thankfully, the RSPB is sensible and tells you to wash your hands after feeding birds or handling feeders. It also offers advice about dead birds, and situations that might arise from your cat bringing home a bird for your delectation. (Now at this point I could have a rant about my belief that cats should not be free to roam outside, adding another unnatural predator etc, and be all smug about having a house cat, but I won't.)

Be careful, and cautious over cleanliness, and the risk is going to be minimal. Just like going to the hospital and washing your hands with the alcohol mix, it's a safety precaution. It's a case of remembering to be sensible - don't be crazy and think we're all going to die, because we're not.

Hopefully, DEFRA will be sensible about this too - at least it might take their eyes off the insane badger cull situation for a while . And hopefully we won't get crazy news reports in the tabloids, scaring all the dimwits left, right and centre, and hopefully the government won't do another Foot and Mouth disease fiasco and close off the countryside.

Only time will tell. But don't be scared, eat lots of fruit and veg, and keep well. It will be ok.

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