19 April 2007


Two months after the importation of Bird Flu into the UK via a Bernard Matthews plant in Suffolk, we learn he's going to get his comeuppance. According to the BBC: "no specific proven source has been found but the reports says the most likely explanation is that the infection came from the importation of turkey meat from Hungary". Let's just clarify that for a moment - this is a Bernard Matthews farm in Hungary importing livestock to a Bernard Matthews farm in the UK - where the outbreak occurred.

So surely the government has come down like a ton of bricks on Bernard Matthews? Why of course: the company will get £589,000 compensation for the birds compulsorily slaughtered to prevent the spread of bird flu.

Clearly this is a tricky problem, and not a reflection on the bizarrely sacred position of agriculture as a business. After all, imagine if, say, a sausage company had been accused of producing sausages infected with e-coli. How much compensation do you think they would have been entitled to?

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