The Dark Side of Cypriot Cuisine
Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and other officials expected in Cyprus during its EU presidency have been warned about the 'dark side of Cypriot cuisine' - illegally trapped songbirds like robins, blackcaps and endangered species which are served on the sly in restaurants around the island, reports Swedish daily The Local.
The Swedish Ornithological Society urged Reinfeldt not to sample 'ambelopoulia' as the birds are called in Greek, and to fight the practice of bird slaughter.
In 2011, an estimated 2.8 million birds were trapped inhumanely on sticky pieces of wood or inside fine nets that are placed in bushes and trees where the birds perch. Once trapped there, they die agonisingly of thirst and are then picked up by the trappers which sell them on at a huge profit to restaurants that literally serve them up in their basements to avoid being caught by the authorities.
Ornithological organisations such as Germany's Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) have come to Cyprus to carry out information gathering studies, and in the process release as many birds as they can by squirting water on the glue sticks used by the trappers. In a high-profile expose aired on German TV last June, CABS members were attacked and threatened by an angry trapper before the police arrived.
The authorities have agreed to step up the campaign against illegal songbird trapping, but according to activists belonging to Birdlife Cyprus, progress is slow because of the financial gain involved in trading these birds.
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