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Ashfield Council in Flap over Pigeons   Nov 5 2005

Filed under Australiana by Ewen Shearer

Emergency Flying Squad Proposed

Sydney’s inner-west Burough of Ashfield fears pigeons are the biggest potential source of disease if the global threat of bird flu eventuates.

The Deputy Mayor of Ashfield, Nick Adams, wants to eradicate local pigeons.

He is worried that migratory birds could bring the disease to his municipality and wants to eradicate Ashfield’s pigeons.

Every once in a while a plague, an illness, or a flu, comes into our world and wipes out thousands, sometimes millions of people," explained Councilor Adams.

Ashfield should be inhospitable to pigeons. Avian influenza does not respect borders.

I’m not an expert. I’m not an accountant. I’m certainly not a pest controller. Don’t ask me about procedure. What I would like to see is no pigeons in our area," he said.

The opportunity to ridicule and taunt was relished by South Ward Councilor Marc Rerceretnam: "The mind boggles when I think of Ashfield pigeons flying to the border of Ashfield and stopping directly at the border, saying "oh no, that’s Canterbury, I can’t go into there" and flying back in again. I mean this, this is, what exactly is this motion trying to do?

Greens Party Councilor Lance Dale rebuked Council’s misdirection:

The only epidemic that I think that we have in our community to really worry about at the moment is one called WorkChoices, and the pigeon that I think, that does need to be eradicated, is our Prime Minister who is currently crapping on all the workers and their families in our communities.

Work or starve, that is the real community issue, not some stupid flea-blown bird flu epidemic."

Whilst Sydney’s Ashfield Council web site reveals nothing about pigeons, a corresponding British Ashifield offers this profuse, detailed and timely advice to residents.

An nameless pigeon fancier from Sydney’s western suburbs offered Bondi-Cigar this surmisement of the issues:

What the Ashfield Council proposes is nothing we can take seriously despite good intentions. If he (Nick Adams) saves the municipality from a pandemic it would be a feather in his cap.

But what is he really suggesting? Does he believe pigeons alone transmit disease? Is he suggesting pigeons are carriers?

It’s no good getting your feathers ruffled over the possibility of a pandemic. In the seventies and eighties it was all about ebola and global cooling. Now its avian flu and global warming. Make up yer bloody minds!"

Our fancier appeared to acquire a head of steam at this point.

Haven’t these councilors got something betterer to do? Shouldn’t they be inflicting the curse of parking meters on some quiet tree-lined street, or plonking more signs about the neighborhood to pretty it up?

It’s easy to see what the pecking order is in Ashfiled Council. They shouldn’t stick their beak where it doesn’t belong.

I’ve a few dozen more pigeon jokes under my wing. Do you want me to continue? No wonder local government is going the way of the dodo – or Nepean District Pigeon Federation.

They say ‘One easily gulled is called a pigeon‘ … well, I say ‘One easily pigeoned is called a gull !’

Don’t feed the bloody pigeons!

What sort of pigeons does Ashifield Council thinks it’s pigeoning? I mean, talk about aiming at a pigeon and hitting a crow!

Pigeons are realy people – Ashfield Council is talking about us like we’re some sort of, well, clay pigeons.

Watching Ashfield Councilors goose-stepping around the other day, all pigeon-breasted and cooing such nonsense, I was reminded of this quote fom Nathaniel Hawthorne’s ‘The Scarlet Letter’ – "A pigeon, alone on a low branch … uttered a sound as much of greeting as alarm."

For goodness sake, it all sounds rather like an Anna Pigeon mystery. It’s just so predictable – always homing in on pigeons.

Just don’t shoot the carrier, I say."

Throsby believes the subject is well and truly pigeon-holed.




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