Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Ravens to Be Locked Up in the Tower to Beat Bird Flu

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Ravens to Be Locked Up in the Tower to Beat Bird Flu

Article excerpt

Byline: MARK PRIGG

THE Tower of London has decided to move its ravens indoors amid growing fears over bird flu.

Aviaries have been created for the six birds within one of the towers of the fortress on the Thames. Legend has it that the Tower of London will collapse and the kingdom will fall if all the ravens leave.

The Tower's Yeoman raven master, Derrick Coyle, said: "Although we don't like having to bring the Tower ravens inside, we believe it is the safest thing to do for their own protection, given the speed that the virus is moving across Europe.

"We are taking advice on the vaccinations against avian flu and in the meantime we will continue to give our six ravens as much care and attention as they need."

The Tower ravens - Branwen, Hugine, Munin, Gwyllum, Thor and Baldrick - are said to be getting used to their new surroundings.

The Government today faced growing criticism of its decision not to vaccinate poultry, or to create a vaccine stockpile.

However, a new farmers' alliance revealed it is working on an independent vaccination plan to protect 15 million chickens in Britain.

The plan is being co-ordinated by the Soil Association and the Elm Farm Research Centre, the organic farming research base in Newbury, Berkshire.

Richard Sanders, policy researcher at Elm Farm, said: "The issue is gaining momentum and we are contacting people in various organisations to lend their support. It really must be sensible to protect outdoor flocks from this huge reservoir of the lethal avian flu disease around the Baltic."

The French and Dutch were today submitting applications for the limited vaccination of outdoor birds to protect them from possible disease from birds returning from Africa this summer, but Britain is resisting such an approach.

Margaret Beckett, the Rural Affairs Secretary, said vaccination was not a cure and could pose difficulties by masking the disease.

However, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has issued a marketing consent licence to Intervet UK for its vaccine Nobilis Influenza. …

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