Before the law one could achieve a victory and enforce a ban on the questionable “culinary delights” after previous animal cruelty unparalleled, but unfortunately this un-tradition is still practiced illegally.
We are talking about a custom from France in which protected songbirds – Ortolane or garden bunting – are mistreated and eaten.
The garden bunting is a songbird that overwinters in Africa and flies thousands of kilometers to breed with us. The slightly larger than sparrow-sized bird with the yellow throat, also called Ortolan, was never common in Germany – and is becoming increasingly rare.
One reason for this is its flight route.
On their strenuous journey around the Mediterranean Sea, the animals have to make a stopover in southern France to recover.
That will doom for thousands of them.
Because the French love Ortolans. Not because they are beautiful to look at or because they sing adorable.
But because they taste good.
The animals end up as a precious specialty in the palate of wealthy gourmets.
The well-heeled French upper class has these animals caught and fattened for 3 weeks in the dark so that the little birdies put on fat and mutate into so-called “fat bangers”.
They are then drowned in Armagnac so that the birds can take in plenty of it.
Then the birds are fried in fat in a special saucepan and put into their mouths whole by gourmets with skin and bones and chewed.
Whether to protect from the eyes of animal rights activists or to prevent the smell of the food from escaping … “Real gourmets” put a cloth napkin over their heads while chewing.
A process that takes several minutes. The more pragmatic background, however, will be that this way of eating is indeed a dirty business.
Or as other observers suggest: It is the shame of the cruel treatment that brought the bird to the plate.
The only thing that remains of the pitiable creatures is the head, which lands back on the plate.
The business with the Ortolans officially boomed, because annually at the time of the legality of this martyrdom around 30,000 birds per year were sold, whereby one of these small meals fetched around 150 € – today probably even more on the black market.
For years France enjoyed special permits for catching and consuming ortolans, although the bird has been specially protected for over 40 years.
Since 1980 the population has decreased by 88% across Europe.
The birds are caught illegally with traps, nets and limestone rods. Birdlife Organization estimates that around 500,000 protected songbirds are illegally killed in France each year.
These include chaffinch and mountain finch, but also many other species such as goldfinch and siskin fall victim to the annual slaughter festivals.
Only since the official ban on catching the animals has he been able to recover a little.
Unfortunately, animals are still illegally caught and killed and eaten in the manner described.
A lawsuit by the EU against France in 2016 for violations of the bird protection directives before the ECJ, as well as massive interventions by numerous animal welfare organizations, brought about the legal turning point.
The ban came into force in 2017.
The European Commission has already withdrawn the lawsuit.
Today the catch of these songbirds is only marginal, but despite the condemnation of numerous Ortolan hunters, it is still present with a little less than 10% of the previous traditional activities (after all, that is still around 3,000 animals).
Every compassionate person is against this cruel way of dealing with sentient beings.
The ordeal of the trapped ortolans is extremely barbaric.
We hope that France can get the still existing illegal market with this macabre delicacy under control and stamp it out, because nothing can justify this suffering that is inflicted on the birds.
It is only a victory all along the line when every bird on the autumn migration leaves France again.
Text: Gemeinsam für die Tiere (Together for the animals)
And I mean…It’s a very hannibalistic meal.
What they do is drown the bird in Armagnac, pluck it, and fry it, and then it is eaten all at once.
So his bowels are full. His stomach and lungs are full of Armagnac.
So if you bite into it, there is this hot liquor mixed with its wild gut and everything that was in it.
The crunch of the bones is actually so sharp that it cuts the inside of your mouth so you not only taste the songbird’s blood, but your own blood as well, and it just seems so hideous that the whole ritual has a proper association with Hannibal Lecter.
Hannibals have always seen beauty in death, Ortolan gourmet are apparently also obsessed with the ritual beauty of their traditional slaughter festivals
My best regards to all, Venus