The annual tragedy of songbird trapping in Europe is about to begin, and no doubt readers of this page will be surprised as we were to learn that a significant part of this vile trade, in which songbirds like thrushes, black caps and warblers are netted in glue traps and sold in restaurants as a delicacy costing $100 a plate, takes place on land in Cyprus controlled by the British Army.
Prince Charles has now written to the senior Commander of British Forces in Cyprus, asking him to uproot the planted avenues of non-native acacia plants which trappers use to attract the birds from the massive army base.
The Prince writes in his letter, which has been seen by the Daily Mail, that the “industrial-scale killing of songbirds" could be significantly reduced if the acacia was removed by the start of the autumn migration period in September.
Charles writes, "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 organized criminals who control this barbaric practice.”
The vast British Sovereign Base Area (SBA) of Dhekelia, on Cyprus’s southern coast is used to train British soldiers on firing ranges before serving in Afghanistan.
The illicit trade is thought to be worth some £12 million a year. The birds are primarily sold to Greek restaurants to be used in a dish known as Ambelopoulia.