At the border of Hungary and Romania officials discovered 10,000 songbirds no longer alive covered in boxes in a refrigerated truck also containing meat and sausages. Most of the birds were Skylarks, others were Bluethroats, Fieldfares, Mistle Thrushes, Reed Buntings and Pied Wagtails. They had all been gunned down with shotguns.
A European organization called the Committee against Bird Slaughter wrote, “The trade in shot Skylarks and other song birds is a multimillion business in Italy, costing the lives of hundreds of thousands of song birds every year. The Italian forest police annually seize thousands of illegally acquired wild birds in restaurants and game butchers shops, which always include deliveries of migrant birds smuggled in from the Balkans.” (Source: Komitee.de)
Reportedly some songbirds are used in gourmet dishes by a number of Italian chefs, possibly in northern Italy. Brescia is one of the cities where songbird consumption has been said to still be occurring. Lo Spiedo Bresciano has been called a signature dish and apparently has been for centuries. Hundreds of years ago poor people in the area were forbidden by the nobility from capturing larger wild animals to eat, so they focused on small birds. Today songbird poaching and eating there continues, though society as a whole may be against it.
It isn’t just Italy where songbirds are on the menu at some restaurants. Cyprus also has food outlets serving songbird dishes. According to the Committee Against Bird Slaughter millions of songbirds are killed each year, and many wind up on dinner or lunch plates.
Image Credit: DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0
Man Jailed for Catching 13,000 Birds