Because I believe devoutly in “teaching the controversy,” I thought I should call your attention to this weird article on avian flu, which is almost as rhetorically exuberant as it is factually inaccurate:
Many migratory birds are already heading for their summer homes in Russia. By the eternal laws of nature, birds are flying in large numbers to their nesting-places for the sake of raising a new generation.Apparently, some Russian officials are demanding that these discredited birds be purged, in a sort of ornithological Yezhovshchina:
Today, however, few people romanticize the spring return of birds because they have been discredited by the rise of avian flu.
As spring arrives, there are more and more calls from various levels of Russian society to exterminate migratory birds.The author, Tatyana Sinitsyna, tries to explain why this is a bad idea. Unfortunately, her arguments are almost as crazy as those of the people she’s attempting to educate:
[T]he massive shooting of birds would only encourage an epidemic because killed and wounded birds spread the infection.On the other hand, she’s not nearly as crazy as Professor Yevgeny Voronin of the Skryabin Moscow Veterinary and Biotechnology Academy, who allegedly made this remarkable statement at a recent conference on H5N1:
At present, no type of animal flu is dangerous for humans….I can drink a medicine bottle of the H5N1 virus and nothing will happen to me. Students at our academy study virology and work with the live avian flu virus. I have never heard that anyone has suffered.I’m not sure how this article made it onto the editorial page of the Belleville News-Democrat, but it’s likely to be a boon for Professor Voronin, who’ll probably be swamped in lucrative offers from conservatarian thinktanks within a day or two.