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Scottish Chief Veterinary Officer calls out Chris Packham for misleading information on bird flu

Chris Packham, along with the RSPB, are well known for cherry picking evidence to suit their personal agendas.

As opposed to a normal approach being adopted, whereby all the evidence is considered before determining the most likely outcome, Packham has once again jumped to his own dishonest conclusion in an effort, this time, to defame the farming community.

The problem for him now though is that his agenda driven bias has been called out by Scotland’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Sheila Voas.

Tweeting after the RSPB’s James Reynold’s went on the radio this weekend to speak about the bird flu disaster affecting UK right now, Packham criticised the interviewee for not ‘dealing with the origins of the disease – industrial farming of poultry.’

The impact of the current bird flu outbreak is unprecedented and has affected everything from buzzards and kites to great skuas and gannets.

Picking up on Packham’s claim, Sheila Voas responded: “I’d be interested to hear your evidence that the origin of these wild bird die offs is linked to ‘industrial farming of poultry’ Very happy to discuss the science if you would like.”

When a link was suggested by a Packham supporter, Voas responded again:“Nope. Demonstrates links not causation. ALL sectors badly affected this year. Wild birds and poultry - organic, free range, hobby + backyard as well as intensive. Epidemiology ongoing. Housing + culling of affected poultry helps. NO evidence (yet) of spread from poultry TO wild.”

But it is not just Packham who is jumping on this bandwagon, it is also the RSPB. In a recent article on their news website they claim: “There have been several outbreaks of Avian flu in the UK in recent years, but the vast majority have been in domestic poultry farms.”

The RSPB are implying in this statement that the disease is being driven by poultry units, and so the BBC are reporting this. Clearly this is extremely misleading at best. Poultry units have the most cases because they are legally required to report an outbreak.

People will be unsurprised to hear that bird flu lives in wild birds, which in turn bring it to poultry units - that’s why hens have been required to be kept inside in recent months. There is zero evidence it had jumped the other way. Wild birds carry diseases. It is as simple as that and not anything new.

[Many buzzards have tested positive for bird flu with some vets no longer carrying out autopsies]

The online spat shows just how dogmatic Packham and elements of the RSPB have become when it comes to their selective use of science and research to further an agenda. In the past whenever this has been called out by any sort of rural organisation, it is often dismissed by Packham and Wild Justice as being a view of vested interest.

Perhaps now that Scotland’s Chief Veterinary Officer has called him out people might start realising just how misguided so much of what we are told about conservation really is.


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