I eat one bad piece of shellfish and I'm chained to the toilet for a week. You'd think that those rotting carcass-eating birds would be dropping like flies. What gives?

Well, according to Zen Faulkes, a professor of Zoology at the University of Melborne, some animals do get sick and die--but it's very rare. Faulkes asserts that scavengers seldom get food poisioning because most of the bacteria that decomposes a carcass is neither pathogenetic or toxic enough to harm. The bacteria that does make its way to the stomach is killed off by stomach acid unless it is in unusually high numbers.

Vultures have an extremely high acid level in their tummies to take care of superfluous bacteria. Faulkes goes on to explain: "Humans don't necessarily get sick from eating carrion. Indeed, some people eat game meat that has been "hung" (left hanging in the open), so it has decomposed slightly and has a more interesting flavour."

I'll take his word on that one.

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