The outbreak of Avian Flu amongst turkeys in Suffolk.
‘Bird Flu outbreak. 159,000 turkeys gassed in Suffolk. Experts say no risk to humans.’
people will have been horrified by this news, partly because there is a remote possibility
that the flu virus may mutate and attack humans, and partly because of the huge slaughter
of birds involved.
Some are anxious because they work daily with these birds and fear infection.
Others are concerned because of the distance the infected turkey carcases will be carried for incineration.
Some have seen the television pictures of the crowded conditions in which these birds are kept; perhaps they were previously unaware that the turkey meat they buy in the supermarkets has been produced, quite legally, in this way.
It may raise questions about whether this is an acceptable and right way to treat other living creatures.
It may make some ask questions about how other animals are kept that become the food in our shops and on our plates.
Genesis 2 verse15: ‘The Lord took the man and settled him in the Garden of Eden to cultivate and take care of it.’
Genesis 9 verses 1-3: ‘And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every bird of the air, upon everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea; into your hand they are delivered. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; and as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.’
given something is also to be given responsibility for it and for its correct and proper
Perhaps we need to ask whether we are taking proper care by keeping animals indoors in such conditions, even if it is legal
Perhaps God is speaking to us as we watch these events and is saying from the turkey sheds, from the homes of the worried farm workers:
‘Look! Look! I am over here. Can you see me? I am in this problem. Isn’t it awful? What do you think about it? Can we really let this happen? Is it time to think about it? Is it time to find out more about how we are permitted to keep animals that will be our food?’
meat is very popular today; it is a good low fat meat and is therefore healthy.
Advertising has created a demand for it. We responded and bought it in large quantities. More was needed, more was produced, and it had to be cheap, so costs had to be kept down.
Some will argue that keeping these birds indoors mean that we can keep a check on what they eat and prevent disease.
Genesis 1: ‘Good looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good.’
looks at his world today, the one he has entrusted to our care, does he still find it very
Perhaps we should play our part and begin to find out how our food is produced and in what conditions we, as a country, allow farm animals to be kept.
Having found out, we should think what its owner and creator – God – would like us to do about it and realise that today we are His eyes, His hands and feet. We are those who will go about doing his work.
Keep a short time of silence
Prayer / Reflection
In this quiet time, think of the pictures you have seen of this event and of the people involved. Some of them are worried about their health, some about their jobs. Other small farmers are worried about the safety of their poultry flocks.
Thank you for this wonderful planet on which you have placed us.
Thank you for its abundance and variety of food.
Help us always to act as your agents, asking questions, and taking care of it.
Help us to respect all animal life, especially those animals raised for our food.
Be with all those who are worried or concerned at this time.