5 places to avoid because of bird flu

Monday, March 6th, 2006

1. Germany

A large country that manages to border just about every other country on the planet and so a magnet to any sick bird looking for a bit of comfort and understanding.
The incidence of bird flu in Germany has resulted in a shock shortage of wool, as farmers nation-wide are busily knitting little scarves and bobbly hats for their flocks and mixing industrial bucket-loads of Beechams powders.

Fetid feather alert level: Yellow

2. France

Oddly, and this is a little known fact, France has no indigenous bird population of its own, but instead merely serves as a staging post for several migratory breeds. This means that although France appears relatively safe on paper, it is in fact a hotbed of infection. In the same way that entire plane-loads of passengers will all come down with something nasty at the same time, so flocks of birds will instantly infect others simply by sneezing over any other feathered friends they happen to encounter. And with birds being the second most sociable creature on earth (after slugs), this is a clear and present danger.

France is currently investing in a large elasticated net which will cover major areas of civilisation and bounce any migrating birds back to Germany where they probably came from.

Fetid feather alert level: Yellow

3. The Far East

It’s been the butt of jokes in the west for many years, and sensitive readers should look away now, but the rather disgusting habit of inhabitants of the Far East of actually eating dead birds is, some would argue, coming back to haunt them. Unlike the West, where we merely shape meat-based pink slurry into funny shapes and cover them in bread crumbs, your Chinese, Thais and Japanese like nothing more than to (and this is really gross) get real live birds, slaughter them, and then cook them thoroughly before serving up in a nice sauce or tasty and deceptively easy-to-prepare stir-fry.

Marco Polo was right. Other countries are nice places to visit, but you wouldn’t really want to eat there.

Fetid feather alert level: Orange

4. The House Next Door to Mine

The old woman who lives in the house next to me has a habit of throwing a bowl of bread pieces on to the pavement at about 5pm every day. This causes the entire pigeon population of Brighton to descend on a couple of square meters in one go.
They’re clever birds these – they start to congregate on neighbouring roofs about twenty minutes before-hand, sending my cat completely bonkers.

If she’s late, a couple of pigeons and a seagull (big bugger) land on her window sill and start pecking at the glass. I think she must be putting cocaine in with the bread.

The noise is tremendous, what with the flapping and the coo-ing (or whatever it is pigeons do). A few minutes later, they’re gone, leaving a pile of crumbs and a wide splatter of faeces. Oh it’s lovely.

So if there’s an outbreak of bird flu you can guarantee that it’ll start next door to me.

Fetid feather alert level: Orange

5. The Canary Islands

The clue’s in the name, folks!

Fetid feather alert level: Red

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