VEGA News Item

Toxic Dust Kills Pigeon Fancier - 05/10/2010

Environmental Message on Keeping Crowded Flocks

1.  A champion pigeon fancier died recently after inhaling a toxic dust created by his birds. An inquest in Derby heard that Bill Brailsford aged 91 had died from extrinsic allergic alveolitis, which is caused by dust created from pigeon food and droppings. Bill Brailsford had kept his winning pigeons, sometimes as many as 170, for 80 years at his home in Alvaston, Derby.

2.  His 47-year-old grandson, also called Bill, said: “I would advise other pigeon fanciers to wear masks and probably not to keep so many.” The coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death.

3.  We have to understand in our contacts with other animals – and plants – as they suffer in confinement and under the stresses of crowding and lack of space, they create – as we as humans do – inimical atmospheres that in people irritate and inflame allergic reactions and infections, possibly exacerbated by factors such as sunlight or the side reactions of drugs. Ornithoses take many forms. Beekeepers should take appropriate precautions. Hikers and workers with some plants may suffer from rashes brought on by exposure of their bare skin or when they suffer aggravated side-effects when they are taking prescriptions of some drugs, eg tetracyclines; consequently it is always advisable to cover at least their lower limbs when they are walking through rough meadows and ground; and don’t tread on snakes dozing or sunning themselves in sunny places. And a pair of gloves is handy for protection if the rambler or country goer develops an impetuous urge to gather nettle leaves for making a soup or prickly fruit for the summer pudding.

4.  Pharmacies now sell remedies, based heavily on witch hazel for inflammations provoked by outdoor activities and susceptibility to allergies such as “hay-fever,” which can seriously and unsuspectably overtake the unwary over a spell of many months due to activities other than hay-making. Resort to such remedies, successfully or not, should be followed by a visit to a GP.


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