Prince Charles Has Demanded Urgent Action To Stop The Annual ‘Barbaric Slaughter’ Of – Half A Million Migrating Songbirds At A British Army Base In Cyprus. Put A Stop To The ‘Barbaric Slaughter’ of British Songbirds: Prince Charles demands in private letter to head of Army base in Cyprus. – 2014 March 22nd
Prince Charles has written to the most senior Army commander in Cyprus condemning the ‘industrial scale killing’ of migrating songbirds. The creatures often suffer for hours after being illegal snared in nets. ‘Serious organised criminals’ are at the heart the issue says the Prince.
In Cyprus the birds are considered a delicacy selling for £65 a plate. The RSPB welcomed the heir to the throne’s intervention. An unnamed Cypriot politician has branded the letter ‘hypocritical.’ - ‘SONGBIRDS’ – “SAVE OUR ‘UK’ GARDEN SONGBIRDS…”
Prince Charles Has Demanded Urgent Action To Stop The Annual ‘Barbaric Slaughter’ – Of Half A Million Migrating Songbirds At A British Army Base In Cyprus.
The creatures, familiar to millions of British gardens, often suffer for hours after being illegally snared in nets or on glue-coated sticks, before being killed and served up as a delicacy in Greek restaurants for £65 a plate.
In a private letter seen by The Mail on Sunday, the Prince has taken the highly unusual step of writing to the most senior Army commander in Cyprus, as well as to the island’s president, condemning the ‘industrial scale killing’.
Charles claims that it is big business, run by ‘serious organised criminals’. The killing fields are centred on the British Sovereign Base Area (SBA) of Dhekelia, on Cyprus’s southern coast, close to the tourist hot-spot of Ayia Napa. British soldiers train on firing ranges there before serving in Afghanistan.
Trappers place their lures at night. Early the next morning, they return for their grisly harvest, ripping the terrified birds from the fine-mesh ‘mist’ nets or glue-covered branches, often leaving the entangled feet behind.
“Then killing them with a cocktail stick or a penknife to the throat.” - “SAVE OUR GARDEN SONGBIRDS…”
Many will be used in the dish Ambelopoulia, in which the boiled or fried birds are eaten whole, save for the beak. Cypriots regards the meal as ‘natural viagra’… In addition, loudspeakers are set up, powered by car batteries, broadcasting the mating call of the blackcap – the main target of the trappers – as a lure for the birds.
The glue sticks, coated with a tacky lime solution, are placed in the tree branches, and vertical mist nets erected between the rows of acacia bushes which entangle not just the blackcaps, but all flying creatures, from robins to song thrushes and even small owls and other birds of prey.
Charles calls for the acacia groves and their irrigation system to be ripped out.
His letter to Major-General Richard Cripwell, Commander of British Forces in Cyprus, and copied to President Nicos Anastasiades, begins: ‘I am writing with regard to the industrial-scale killing of songbirds which is currently occurring on the Cyprus Sovereign Base Area of Dhekelia.
‘It’s a staggering level of slaughter and we hope that it will provide a catalyst for change.’ – RSPB spokesman Grahame Madge welcomed the Prince’s intervention.
‘In particular, to ask you to have the infrastructure which permits this illegal slaughter (planted avenues of invasive acacia) to be removed from the MoD-administered land there by the start of the autumn migration period in September.
‘This would not only at a stroke save hundreds of thousands of birds being killed illegally on British soil, but would also prevent significant profits from flowing into the pockets of the serious organised criminals who control this barbaric practice.’ - “SAVE GARDEN SONGBIRDS…”
He says the bird haul includes ‘many species which are much-loved by the British public, such as robins, song thrushes and barn owls’.
Martin Hellicar, Cyprus representative of Birdlife International, said: ‘An Army training ground has been turned over to wildlife crime. Can you imagine that happening in Wiltshire?’
Conservationists say bird trapping has changed in the past 20 years from a small-scale activity intended to put food on the family table into a major criminal enterprise. About 30 trappers, some of whom operate on Dhekelia, are believed to dominate the trade. Mafia figures with links to prostitution, drugs and gambling are suspected to be among their number.
The effect on European bird populations is devastating – Favourite garden birds migrating between Britain and their African wintering quarters are among the estimated 1.5 million birds slaughtered on Cyprus every year. Birdwatch International estimates that about 500,000 are killed on British bases.
‘The birds are a delicacy. Catching them is traditional and you are hypocritical. It wasn’t long ago when English aristocrats used to hunt and kill foxes, and you can’t even eat them’ – A Cypriot politician. Royal Society for the Protection of Birds spokesman Grahame Madge welcomed the Prince’s intervention. He said: ‘It’s a staggering level of slaughter and we hope that it will provide a catalyst for change.’
According to RSPB figures, several species have drastically declined in the UK in the past two decades, and while the society did not claim illegal hunting was driving the decline, they cited it as an ‘additional pressure’.
More than 150 different species have been recorded as killed in the nets, including globally endangered birds such as red-backed shrikes, barn owls and rollers. - ‘SONGBIRDS’ – “SAVE OUR GARDEN SONGBIRDS…”
Viktoras Papadopoulos, spokesman for the Cyprus president, told The Mail on Sunday: ‘The president told Prince Charles we do everything we can within the law to enforce the law on trapping. We have the same concerns. He is respected in Cyprus and this will have an effect.’
Arrested trappers are given fines of a few hundred euros, although one man was recently jailed for two months.
Critics say the treatment of trappers fails to deter.
Last week The Mail on Sunday went out on patrol with SBA police officers hunting the trappers.
None were caught, but a net with dead birds was found, along with dozens of metal support poles and a loudspeaker wired to a car battery.
SBA police Divisional Commander James Guy, a 66-year-old ex-Strathclyde officer, pointed out that restaurants in Cyprus are rarely prosecuted for serving bird dishes.
‘There are politicians who appear to have a very sympathetic attitude towards trappers,’ he said.
One Cypriot political figure made light of the controversy, saying: ‘The birds are a delicacy. Catching them is traditional and you are hypocritical. It wasn’t long ago when English aristocrats used to hunt and kill foxes, and you can’t even eat them.’ Extracts from the Prince of Wales’s letter were obtained by The Mail on Sunday but Clarence House refused to comment on its contents.
The Prince writes frequently to Government Ministers and his letters have been at the centre of a controversial legal action. They have so far remained secret as the Attorney General Dominic Grieve has blocked a Freedom of Information request for disclosure of the letters. Earlier this month the veto was ruled unlawful by judges, but the letters remain under wraps awaiting an appeal to the Supreme Court. - ‘SONGBIRDS’ –
“SAVE OUR GARDEN SONGBIRDS…!”
Prince Charles Demands – “Stop This ‘Barbaric Slaughter’ Of British Songbirds” – Stop This “Industrial Scale Killing’ of Europe’s – Migrating Songbirds”
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