United Kingdom — Many species of urban birds seem to be taking up smoking to abate hunger pains caused by the lack of food being put out on bird tables. Studies show that since the United Kingdom government implemented its austerity program, the amount of food people can put out for the birds has seriously declined.
Researchers have found a link between declining quantity of food available and an increase in the smokers within the bird populations. According to several reports, in some working class areas the percentage of smoking urban sparrows is drastically higher than in rural or more well to do areas.
Also, birds consumed more cigarettes in those areas.
“This behavior is clearly a form of self medication to expedite hunger pangs, this is the chief reason this problem is much more prevalent in poorer urban areas,” said Mike Drake from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). Mr. Drake refused to comment when asked defend his premise that austerity contributes to this self-medication.
However when we caught up with Alan Finch from the Class War to Save the Birds Foundation (CWSBF) whose preliminary findings suggested that the birds seek the appetite suppressing qualities of nicotine and other chemicals in the cigarettes.
What CWSBF Found
To firm up their conclusion, Alan and his team experimented with a total of 145 birds of 3 different species. As well as extensive field work in the areas hardest hit by the bird smoking phenomenon.
“To sum it up we found very distinct links between the hunger levels of birds and how likely they are to smoke and how much they smoke. We also found a distinct decline in the quantity and quality of food available in areas particularly badly hit by austerity,” Finch said of his work.
The Rt Hon Michael Gove MP Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when pushed for comment denied any connection between austerity, declining scraps put out for the birds and the increase in the numbers of birds taking up smoking.