Turkey meat examined for bird flu

We’ve all heard and read about the bird flu outbreak in Suffolk last week. Latest update from the Beeb:

Turkey meat examined for bird flu

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is investigating whether meat infected with bird flu could have entered the food chain.

But it reassured consumers that infected turkey posed no risk to human health if the meat was properly cooked.

Officials now believe the H5N1 strain of the virus found in Suffolk is linked to one found in Hungary last month.

Bernard Matthews, the firm at the centre of the UK outbreak, has denied breaching rules on imports of meat.

‘The FSA confirmed it was looking into whether bird flu had entered the human food supply as part of the wider investigation into the outbreak at the turkey firm’s farm in Holton.

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Additionally – a comment in the Independent Online Edition from Joanna Lumley (who previously fronted a campaign against live animal export) asking people to spare a thought for the turkeys and asks why people are even eating them:

Joanna Lumley: Spare a thought for all those turkeys
Isn’t it time to wean ourselves off cheap meat at any cost?
Published: 08 February 2007

“In between the fear for our health, the victimising of wild birds, the finger-pointing at free-range poultry farmers, and the detective work on the Hungary-Bernard Matthews connection, we’ve spent scant time thinking about the turkeys whose carcasses are spewing out smoke from the incinerator in Staffordshire.

What I’ve learnt about intensive turkey farming appals me. So, let’s spare a thought for those 159,000 turkeys in particular, and for their cousins, the 20 million turkeys we rear for their flesh each year in the UK. For the birds on that Suffolk factory farm, the end did not come swiftly. Instead, one can only imagine their panic as they were caught by the legs, hauled from their sheds, bundled into the killing crates and their helpless struggle before the gas took hold and unconsciousness mercifully put paid to fear and suffering for good.

This is meant to be the most humane method of mass slaughter for disease control, and less gruelling for the birds than suffocating to death by having the ventilation system shut down.

Let’s not forget the turkeys in the shed where the avian flu virus took hold. What agonies did they go through as the deadly infection infiltrated their lungs, their breathing became constricted and even the foul air of the shed became harder and harder to obtain?…”

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(Thanks Lindsay)

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