Inspecting the contents of dustbins is not a habit of mine but recent high winds leave me no option. When the wind topples unstable bins, the scattered contents make easy pickings for hungry homeless animals. Many local authorities have replaced old bins with more stable ones, or have surrounded the existing bins with attractive retaining walls; this has certainly helped but not really answered the problem.
I was once talking in Tehran with four Americans who specialised in survival techniques and I jokingly commented that they had chosen the right hotel to practise their art as the food was dreadful.
Together we sought an alternative hotel and we fell into conversation over a decent shared meal.
They told me how people who are truly starving will eat anything and the best survival plan is to eat food normally unacceptable before eating normal food and went on to explain why.
But what about pets? I asked. Wild animals have a greater resistance to eating poor food than pets and abandoned pets because these are accustomed to prepared pet food; but some items deposited in bins are harmful to all.
I'm sure nobody would intentionally cause pain and suffering to an innocent animal, but the spread of rubbish around our toppled bin made this likely.
Broken glass, pieces of iron and wire, open tins and other harmful items... I recall we once rescued an abandoned dog with a severe gash across her muzzle which had been probably caused when she struggled in desperation with an opened can which had a morsel of food in it.
Think of animals desperate for food when you next take your rubbish out to the bins.