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UK Tries to Blame Wild Birds for Bird Flu Spread by Factory Farms

All through the main bird migratory season last autumn, and during this winter, the government has been testing wild birds for avian flu. They found evidence of the low pathogenic variety of bird flu, which seems to have been present in wild bird populations for a long time, without causing any serious problems. But they didn't find a single case of the high pathogenic variety, H5N1, the type that turned up on Bernard Matthews' turkey farm just over a week ago. As someone else said, it always seemed a bit unlikely that the first wild bird for nearly a year to carry the deadly version of the virus should just happen to drop dead over Suffolk and fall into a ventilation shaft on one of Bernard's turkey factories.

Despite this, for most of last week the government's chief scientist, Sir David King, led the charge to blame wild birds. At least he was being consistent. From the start of the bird flu scare, he has seized on wild birds as the source of the infection. Last year he was also alone in the government in declaring that this could mean the end of free-range and organic chicken and turkey farming...

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