Birdbrained idea: £2m of taxpayers' money to be spent on research project... into chickens (From Bournemouth Echo)
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Anger over £2m research project involving Bournemouth University into the relationship between people and chickens
BOURNEMOUTH University eggheads have been given a roasting over a £2m research project into chickens.
The project called ‘Cultural and Scientific Perceptions of Human-Chicken Interactions’ is looking into shedding light on how the relationship between people and chickens “has developed over the past 8,000 years”.
But taxpayers’ campaigners have cried fowl over the publicly funded probe and says it’s birdbrained.
The project will take three years to complete, starting in 2014 and will also involve academics from Leicester, Nottingham, Durham and York.
Principal investigator at Bournemouth University, ‘eggspert’ Dr Mark Maltby, inset, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to work with a team of high international esteem drawn from a wide range of disciplines that includes genetics, cultural anthropology, history and archaeological science.
“We are united by our mutual research interests in how chickens and people have interacted in the past and the present.”
Researchers will be examining when and how rapidly domesticated chickens spread across Europe and the history of their exploitation for meat and eggs.
The project will also investigate the ancient and modern cultural significance of the birds in, for example, religious rituals. Research will include metrical and DNA analysis of modern and ancient chicken bones to trace the development of different breeds.
The results of the research will form the basis a series of exhibitions in museums and other venues throughout the UK making up ‘The Chicken Trail’ that will tell the story of the chicken’s domestication in Europe and there are also plans to display some of the research findings in butchers shops.
Robert Oxley, Campaign Director of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: “This is frankly an absurd sum of money to spend on what appears to be a ridiculous study, and the amount doled out certainly isn't chicken feed.
“Supporting scientific research is one thing but this appears to be a waste of taxpayers’ money.”
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