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UK - Bird Flu fears after 16 swan deaths in Stratford-upon-Avon

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  • UK - Bird Flu fears after 16 swan deaths in Stratford-upon-Avon

    Bird Flu fears after 16 swan deaths in six weeks at Stratford-upon-Avon

    Feb 20 2011

    HORRIFIED bird lovers demanded an urgent investigation last night after the mystery deaths of SIXTEEN swans in just six weeks.

    The ‘unprecedented’ number of fatalities has wiped out around 30 per cent of the population along the River Avon in Stratford-upon-Avon.

    Now wildlife experts are calling for immediate tests on the dead bodies – after raising fears that Bird Flu may be responsible.

    Swan rescue volunteer and former Stratford Mayor Cyril Bennis said: “This is the worst case of deaths I’ve seen in 30 years of working with swans in Stratford.
    “I picked up
    three this week, two from Stratford and one from Luddington and it was quite distressing.

    “I’ve collected all the dead birds, some young and some old, many have been very thin.
    ‘‘Is it lead poisoning or is it Bird Flu? We just don’t know – but the problem is not going away.

    ‘‘I think we are looking at a virus and have called for the river to be checked. But all this costs money.

    “I have also had to be checked for Avian Influenza because I’ve been taking the birds to the vets.’’

    He added: ‘‘Our swan population cannot sustain this many deaths, as we usually only experience about four deaths on average a year.
    “Something needs to be done, as there are now only 35 birds left on our stretch of the River Avon.

    ‘‘It is so sad to see these beautiful, strong, birds dying, especially when you can’t see anything wrong with them.’’

    Vets at the Arden Forest Veterinary Group have been investigating, but the deceased swans they have received have been dead too long for a successful post-mortem.

    Nick Blayney, owner of the practice, which is a honourary practice of the Swan Trust, said: “At the moment we have unprecedented levels of swan mortality.

    ‘‘As yet we haven’t ruled anything out.

    “The weather could be the cause, but we must be vigilant to Avian Influenza.
    ‘‘We need to rule this out. Tests on birds for Avian Influenza are still going on all over the country, but at the moment we are open-minded to the cause.

    Read more
    “Addressing chronic disease is an issue of human rights – that must be our call to arms"
    Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief The Lancet

    ~~~~ Twitter:@GertvanderHoek ~~~ ~~~