Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Animal Rights Activists Freeing Caged Ortolans

Hunting and eating Ortolan Buntings has been illegal in France since 1999, but the bird is considered a delicacy. Thus the practice of trapping and selling caged Ortolans to high-end restaurants continues. The songbirds killed for gourmet dinners may number in the tens of thousands. Recently animal rights activists have released caged Ortolans back into the wild.

In a co-ordinated protest, members of the League for the Protection of Birds (LPO) destroyed hundreds of traps and set free the birds inside. The time had come, they said, to prioritise biodiversity over gastronomy.

"For 10 years now, not only has the state turned a blind eye [to the poachers] but it has been complicit," said Allain Bougrain-Dubourg, president of the LPO. "It is time to make the state face up to its responsibilities."
Even when I am sympathetic with their goals, as in this case, I always hesitate when I read of activists released birds (or other animals) into the wild because in so many cases animals have been released into inappropriate habitat or domesticated animals have been released even though they might not be able to survive on their own. In this case, the birds are clearly wild in origin and the releases appear to be in their original habitat. At least I hope my reading is the correct one.

This seems like an issue dear to Charlie's heart, so I imagine he will have something to say about it.