Chickens pumped full of cephalosporin are unimpressed by GP prescribing targets.
It’s an ordinary scene, a long line of eggs slowly trundles along a conveyor belt and stops beneath a hypodermic syringe, the needle comes down and the eggs receive their first shot of vaccines and antibiotics before heading off to the hatchery.
We caught up with Steve, one of the chickens on the farm: ‘When people think of farms they imagine ruddy faced farmers with rosacea getting up at the crack of dawn to carry buckets around and wade in slurry. But this place is like a laboratory. I haven’t seen grass since I was an egg, I have no idea what fresh air is and I’ve had more antibiotics than you’ve had hot dinners. The problem is I’m going to end up being your hot dinner.’
Poultry expert Professor Candid says: ‘If you think the irresponsible use of antibiotics in agriculture is bad just try speaking to the French. They can buy antibiotics on a whim which means the blood running through their sensuous Epicurean veins is like bleach. It’s no wonder they can eat snails.’
‘All life is precious,’ says Steve, who was in a somewhat wistful mood, ‘Well when I say all life, my life is valued at precisely £2.50, but you get the point. Right, that’s the van coming, I’m off to get slaughtered, I’ll see you lot in Sainsbury’s after I’ve been rolled out and cut into comical dinosaur shapes for your kids to eat.’
Dr Kevin Hinkley is a GP in Edinburgh