For one who has never knowingly tucked into any of Bernard Matthew's poultry products, I do find some of the grumbling about the £600,000.00 pay-out to compensate their loss of marketable turkeys- confusing.
The principle behind the compensation scheme is straight forward. It encourages reporting of dangerous infectious diseases in our livestock. That enables the government to take steps to prevent the infection from spreading. Payments are made under Section 32 of the Animal Health Act 1981 whenever Ministers require the slaughter of animals for public or animal health reasons.
That is exactly what happened in this case. The Act does not appear to allow any deduction for contributory negligence. The remedy in that case must lie exclusively in prosecuting any alleged offender under the appropriate animal health regulations.
Yesterday's report, prepared by the National Emergency Epidemiology Group, was unable to show any evidence as to how the H5N1 strain of bird flu arrived at Bernard Matthew's operation. That meant any prosecution was out of the question. Compensation would have to be paid.
There is an argument about whether in these circumstances the entire compensation package should fall on the taxpayer, but I do not remember the same level of grumbling when the government doled out large amounts of taxpayers money to compensate farmers for their livestock losses as a result of Foot and Mouth Disease.
There's been much nonsense written and talked about the £600,000 pay-out but the comment by Lib Dem spokesman, Chris Huhne, takes the prize. And you can imagine he's up against some stiff competition.
When interviewed last night about the failure to prosecute Matthews, he claimed they should be in the dock for "their sloppiness". If sloppiness was a criterion for prosecution, rather than silly things like evidence, most of us including Mr Huhne, would be in the dock.