Songbirds as a delicacy: The consumption of songbirds is an “old tradition” in many Mediterranean countries. For this reason alone, millions of larks, thrushes, robins, and warblers are shot and caught every year.
In Spain they are eaten as paella (with rice), in Cyprus, they are grilled and in Italy, they are served with polenta (corn porridge).
The picture shows robins – freshly caught, plucked, and served with polenta.
Selling the birds is banned anywhere in the EU, but resourceful chefs and criminal gangs have established a well-functioning system to allow the authorities to conduct their business unhindered.
On the island of Cyprus alone, government employees estimate the amount to be over 10 million euros annually!
Hundreds of poachers are caught every year during the bird protection camps run by the Committee against Bird Murder, but butcher shops and restaurants are also regularly checked.
We are quite successful in this, because in many countries hardly any restaurant owner dares to offer songbirds to the public.
Today, the majority of trade takes place on the black market and is therefore no longer too extensive, as it was a few decades ago.
And I mean...In no other country in the European Union is bird trapping booming as it is in Cyprus.
Bird trapping in Cyprus has grown into a controversy that encompasses crime, culture, politics, and science. The practice was made illegal more than 40 years ago — but that simply forced it underground. Today, trappers routinely cut wide corridors through vegetation and string fine ‘mist nets’ from poles to catch the birds, which are sent to local restaurants and quietly served.
A platter of a dozen birds sells for €40–80 (US$44–87), and the trade with songbirds is responsible for an estimated annual market of €15 million. The delicacy is so prized and lucrative that it is suspected to be linked to organized crime, and those trying to stop it have been subject to intimidation and violence.
While bird conservationists and authorities have managed to master poaching elsewhere, it is hardly controllable in the Greek-speaking part of the Mediterranean island.
High-profit margins and a low risk of getting caught make bird trapping a lucrative source of income for many poachers.
Because the “connoisseurs” are ready to shell out more than 40 euros for the meager meal! The catchers themselves receive around 4 euros per bird.
The tender bird bones become soft during the preparation and are eaten along with them.
The police are already talking about the “caviar of the 21st century” because of the profit margins and are now afraid of professional poachers.
They do not shy away from violence if they see their lucrative business endangered.
Committee employees have also felt this at the bird protection camps, where they were assaulted more than once.
Poachers are shooting at activists’ cars with shotguns, they are throwing stones at them and spraying them with swine piss.
In France, there are even whole villages that hunt activists.
Therefore: Our greatest task for the future is to educate future generations about nature and animal welfare.
My best regards to all, Venus