Big Eye, May 19, 2015

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Few things surprise me, but a recent Lynn News carried an article that brought home the precariousness of life and our health.

There was a half-page piece detailing the fight that one Norfolk village has to prevent the potential development of a poultry unit on the outskirts of their bucolic idyll. The villagers of Sedgeford have been compelled to marshal ‘big guns’ in order to prevent the building of eight chicken houses.

Now, we all like cheap roast chicken and the chance to buy one at a ridiculously low price in Tesc-burys is irresistible, but few of us appreciate what an unbelievably risky venture this is for those who live amongst these high-intensity factory farms.

The organisers of the Sedgeford ‘No To Poultry Factory Action Group’ have managed to wheel out some hot shot experts from the worlds of medicine and organic farming to lay before a meeting of the group, the details of the hazards associated with this business.

Judging by the relentless list of diseases, airborne bacterial menaces, carcinogenic compounds and pathogens associated with chicken factories, one might legitimately wonder if there was not every reason to take this metter to the International Court of Human Rights to save their village and potentially mankind if this project was to ever be revived.

What surprised me was the sheer weight of supposedly scientific evidence laid before the meeting and how similar it was to the evidence prepared for the Saddlebow Inquiry.

Dust, asthma, pollutants, cancer and mutating bacteria are all very serious issues and surely nobody would bandy about tales like that without concrete data and evidence to back up these claims.

I’m pretty sure the farmer in question had no idea when he dreamt up this scheme that he was potentially unleashing ‘Bacterial Armageddon’ on his fellow villagers or that these factories are breeding grounds for bugs resistant to all currently available medicines.

Who would have thought those grey lumps of pallid chicken breasts in the chiller cabinet could potentially wreak havoc on mankind as some sort of hideous revenge for the thoughtless way 
we’ve treated them over the years?

In my village (we’ll call it “Grisly End” to protect my reputation), we have a very similar poultry unit and I know people who live nearby and indeed work there who have no idea of the kinds of risk they are taking.

For over 30 years, as far as I can recall, we have been oblivious to the dust and smells and germs that have been emanating from this ‘hencentration camp’ and we’ve been blissfully ignorant of the danger.

Strangely, there is no evidence that I can find to suggest that we, the inhabitants of Grisly End, are struggling to remain vertical bearing in mind the daily dangers we face.

Maybe I’m being too cynical, but I’d like to suggest that possibly Sedgeford’s problem is they simply do not want a chicken factory in their pretty village. 
Nothing more or less.