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Scientists launch chicken study to tackle food poisoning

Scientists are looking at the behaviour of chickens Credit: ITV News

Scientists at Oxford University are monitoring the behaviour of chickens to try to combat the leading cause of food poisoning.

A new technique that watches their movements can predict which flocks are at risk of becoming infected.

Scientists at the University of Oxford are trying to combat the leading cause of food poisoning Credit: ITV Meridian

"Humans consume nearly 60 billion chickens a year - more than any other animal. At the same time, there is a worldwide epidemic of human gastroenteric disease caused by Campylobacter.

"It is estimated that up to four-fifths of this disease originates from contaminated chicken meat.

"Despite intensive efforts to improve on-farm biosecurity practice over the past decade, more than 70% of EU broiler [meat] chicken flocks remained Campylobacter-positive at slaughter during 2008, and the incidence of human disease continues unabated. "This suggests that environmental contamination of growing broilers may not be the only cause of high rates of Campylobacter infection in chickens and that key points for intervention - for example, in breeder flocks, hatcheries, or management in the first week of chick life - remain unrecognised."

– Dr Frances Colles from Oxford University's Department of Zoology

Chickens rounded up and stolen from Dorset village

Around 150 chickens have been stolen from a Dorset village Credit: ITV Meridian

Around 150 chickens have been stolen from a village near Bridport in Dorset.

Officers are appealing for witnesses after thieves took the chickens in two separate incidents.

The first incident took place on Tuesday 17th June when thieves too 100 "Silver Link" chickens from Strong Orchard on Pineapple Lane in Salwayash.

The second happened over night on Wednesday 25th June when 50 more chickens of all different breeds were taken.

The chickens are allowed to roam free to help fertilise the land.

Police Constable Neil Gauden said, "This is a significant and targeted theft of a large amount of livestock that has caused considerable expense and inconvenience to the victim.

“It is possible that the thieves have tried to sell the birds locally for an unusually low price or they have may have tried to take them to an abattoir."

Anyone with information should call Dorset police on 101 quoting incident number 25:478.


No yolk - here's what the chicken wore to cross the road

The popular childhood joke asks 'Why did the chicken cross the road?", the answer being - to get to the other side. The question today would be, what did the chicken wear to cross the road?

With chickens becoming more popular as pets, a man from Wardington in Oxfordshire has created high visibility jackets to keep them safe when they're out and about.

Johann Paul says motorists will be able to spot the birds when they are crossing the road.

VIDEO: £2 million funding 'to study chickens'

A vital contribution to science or an absurd waste of money? Reaction remains sharply divided to news that universities have been awarded £2 million of public money - to study the relationship between humans and chickens.

The research will be headed by Bournemouth University who've described it as "a fantastic opportunity". But the Taxpayers Alliance say it's a crazy amount to spend "on what appears to be a ridiculous study".

Our correspondent Martin Dowse has been looking at both sides of the argument. He speaks to Jonathan Holyhead of the Dorset Blind Association and smallholder Jan Vivian.

Police on the hunt for 'poultry thieves'

Chickens Credit: PA

Police are appealing for information after 20 chickens were stolen from an allotment in Curdridge, Hampshire.

The raid took place some time between last Wednesday and Thursday afternoons at Recreation Allotments, Botley Road, Curdridge.

Thieves forced their way into a chicken coop making off with two Buff Orpington hens, one Buff Orpington cockerel, 12 Columbian Black-tails and five Warrens.

PC Jonathan Earnshaw said: "I am appealing for anyone with any information about this incident to come forward.

"Did you see or hear anything suspicous in the area at the time of the incident? Have you been offered any chickens for sale or do you know anyone who has recently acquired some chickens that match the descriptions?"

Anyone with any information is asked to call Bishops Waltham police station on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 11.