Forget Brexit and austerity – a chicken shortage is the real threat facing the UK

KFC first apologised for lack of chain's key ingredient on Saturday, blaming 'teething problems' with its supplier: PA

I see that, according to some tabloids, the real crisis in the UK today is not Brexit, education, prisons, university fees or underfunding of the police force.

We were all under an illusion, as it is in fact a lack of chicken for the fast-food chain KFC.

I wonder whether, on leaving the EU, the logistics and sheer availability of poultry along with quality will be better or worse?

Surely some party or politician could give us some waffle free guarantee along these lines!

Robert Boston

It’s time we put women and children first

The sentences of perverts Barry Bennell and Matthew Falder to 31 and 32 years respectively raise serious issues concerning criminal justice and the protection of the public.

Bennell is unlikely to be much danger to the public, when he becomes eligible for release in 15 years, as he will be 79 years old. The same cannot be said of Falder who will be around 45 when he is eligible for release.

The case of the prolific taxi cab rapist John Worboys, who is on the point of parole after just eight years, shows that protection of the public is given a very low priority in release decisions.

Serious sex offenders such as Falder and Worboys should not be released while they continue to be a danger to our women and children, however long that means they have to be imprisoned.

Also, it is high time for an end to fake sentencing where judges announce sentences, which are typically double what the offender is likely to serve.

Otto Inglis

Student power

Discontent with gun violence has reached new heights in the wake of the Florida shooting. It is true that this callous tragedy has left an indelible mark of overwhelming pain and grief but it has also yielded lively debates on the powerfulness of the national rifle association, its lobbying tactics and the limitations of democracy, propelling reflections on political change and democratic stagnation.

In this context, it comes as no surprise that schoolchildren have taken it upon themselves to campaign for stringent gun control policies, schools safety and mental health awareness; all are worthy overtures in a vibrant and colourful democracy.

Dr Munjed Farid al Qutob
London NW2

Inhumane experimentation

When so much of the scientific world is invested in progressive, humane research, these human-animal hybrid experiments are a shameful step backwards as well as a waste of lives, time, money and the cause of almost unimaginable suffering. In an attempt to create animals containing human material, animal mothers – who feel pain exactly as humans do – are subjected to invasive procedures to remove their eggs and implant embryos.

If their offspring are allowed to be born, this Frankenscience can also cause them to experience many unintended painful consequences, such as tumour growth, brain defects, limb or skull deformities, or even a heightened sense of pain and awareness.

Organ shortages and human diseases must be addressed with serious policy change aimed at increasing consensual organ donation and with advanced, human-relevant research methods that supersede the crude use of animals and provide species-accurate science.

For the benefit of both animals and humans, any research unit worth its scientific credentials should steer clear of these monstrous experiments.

Dr Julia Baines, science policy adviser, Peta
London N1

My experience of urinary incontinence

I read your report on the inadequate research into urinary incontinence with much interest and despair.

There was acknowledgement of the inconvenience, discussion of the difficulty of assessing the effectiveness of pelvic floor exercises, promoting weight loss and more frequent toileting, but there was one aspect of urinary incontinence that was not mentioned.

It is the issue of the adult equivalent of nappy rash. It is extremely painful and distressing. And for a person with particularly sensitive skin, nothing helps, but in fact makes matters worse.

I lead a normal active life but am plagued with almost constant urine leakage and total urge incontinence. If I am away from home this means waiting until I can find a toilet before I can change my pad. I would love to find a cream of some sort which soothes and protects my delicate skin without damaging it further. For me, this extremely painful aspect of urinary incontinence is by far the worst, and has the greatest impact on my life.

Name and address supplied

Even out the costs

I feel it is very unfair to charge young people so much for going to university. I was lucky to have had a full grant, otherwise I would never have been able to go.

I would happily pay a graduate tax, so that all those who have been to university and benefited would pay slightly more tax. I feel this is a fairer system for past, current and future graduates.

Going to university and gaining a degree is a huge asset to a person throughout their life and all those who went to uni should pay equally for that privilege.

Nicki Bartlett

The value of education

Can someone tell me the correct price of a PPE course at Oxford based on its “value to our society as a whole and to our economy for the future”, please? Presumably a very low one, as taking this course obviously did nothing to prevent the Education Secretary, Damian Hinds, from spouting utter rubbish of no social nor economic value whatsoever.

William Mills

Response to your article

Your article dated 8 February (“Turkey accused of recruiting ex-Isis fighters in their thousands to attack Kurds in Syria”) compels me to respond.

Operation Olive Branch (OOB), which was launched on 20 January, aims to ensure Turkey’s border security, provide security and stabilisation in the region, and eliminate terrorist groups, including PKK/PYD/YPG and Isis. Eliminating Isis units is a main objective of OOB; whereas allegations of Turkey recruiting Isis fighters are baseless and serve only to undermine Turkey’s firm stance against all forms of terrorism.

As a country sharing the mutual goal of defeating Isis, Turkey is an active member of the Anti-Daesh coalition. Our substantial contributions to the prevention of supplies and curbing the flow of foreign fighters in line with international efforts are a well-known fact. Turkey has participated in the coalition’s military campaign from day one, and has allowed its airbases and airspace to be used by coalition forces.

Furthermore, successfully concluding Operation Euphrates Shield last year, Turkey cleared its border with Syria from Isis, established a safe haven free from terror, enabling the return of previously displaced Syrians. Moreover, Turkey detained more than 10,000 members of Isis and al-Qaeda affiliates, and deported around 5,800 terrorists while denying entry to more than 4,000 suspicious travellers.

Abdurrahman Bilgic, Turkish ambassador to the UK