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Opening Arguments

Duck, taxpayers!

Taxpayer-funded study of the week (this one in England, thank goodness):

The assumption has always been that rainy weather is good for ducks. Now a three-year study funded to the tune of £300,000 by the taxpayer has proved it.

Two scientists from the University of Oxford gave a lucky group of farm ducks access to a pond, a water trough and a shower. They discovered that the ducks spent an awful lot of time under the shower, sometimes just standing there, others drinking from it.

Perhaps inevitably, the revelation that ducks seem to enjoy water washing over them has not impressed everyone. Susie Squire of the Taxpayers' Alliance, called the research a "bonkers waste of money".

She said: "It is common sense that ducks like rain and water. The last thing the government should be allocating scarce resources to is this sort of nonsense."

For less than half that, I'm willing to find out what bears really like to do in the woods.