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Sunday, 30 October 2005
Bird flu


With the onset of reduced daylight hours (if not winter temperatures) comes the welcome calming down of the chickens chez moi.  They become less bothersome because one sees and hears a lot less of them. I am assuming that they are still around in large numbers, but of course the farmer might have conducted a mass slaughter.

Currently it seems as if everyone is in a tizz about the potential arrival of avian bird flu in Europe. We are told that it is merely a matter of time before a pandemic hits us.  (A pandemic is a global epidemic).  However we have had numerous dire warnings of this kind in the past, and none has materialised.  Should we really panic? is the subject of the Radio 4 program The Moral Maze this Wednesday past.  The discussion and debate is available to listen to again until Wedesday 3 November 2005. The program splurb reads:

Doomsday scenarios abound.

Currently there are two - bird flu, which we’re told will remove at least 50,000 of us? and terrorism which we’re told poses the gravest threat ever faced by this country.

Earlier, there were fears over the MMR vaccine - which proved unfounded. And fears over BSE and its variant, CJD - also unfounded.

Yet the public, the media, the govenment panic - industries are depleted - millions of pounds spent - new and restrictive regulations enforced?

All this, and yet a report now claims that the world is actually a safer place than in the ‘60s.

Some are labelling this a culture of fear, a culture of fatalism. What lies behind it? Is it something to be taken seriously, and treated as a crisis in itself ?  What does it do for our sense of moral priorities?

Melanie Phillips, Professor Steven Rose, Claire Fox and Clifford Longley cross-examine expert witnesses on The Moral Maze.

There was also an interesting interview with microbiologist Hugh Pennington on the BBC World Service which sorted the facts from fiction.

Posted by bigblue on 30/10/2005 at 12:19 AM
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