An Isle of Wight pub has stopped selling rook salad on police advice.
The Taverners gastropub, in Godshill, had sold the dish before the man who supplied the bird meat was arrested.Well, where to start?
Hampshire police confirmed a 45-year-old from Ryde was formally cautioned for contravening the Wildlife and Countryside Act.
Natural England said: "We would not want to encourage their [rooks'] killing, purely to supply a demand for human consumption and trade."
Rooks are not an endagered species. Far from it; anywhere where there is a bit of woodland they are aerial vermin. There's millions of the black raggedy bastards, and they make a noise that competes in volume and duration with any noisy exhaust or nearby airport. People go roost shooting, where you basically wait until they are coming home for a bit of kip, living as they do in multiple-occupancy tower blocks, stand under the trees and let rip with the old Eley No. 7 as they arrive home, arguing intently about the price of insects. They die in coppicefuls, but the numbers never seem to decline. They are an incredibly successful and resilient bird.
Personally, I don't wish them any harm (unlike magpies) and I rather like their cheeky demeanour.
So why the problem with killing a couple and selling them to a pub to make pseudo-traditional Englisshe Saladde Fayre? (Did they ever eat rook salad in the Olden Days? I doubt it. Nor snail porridge.) Well, apparently it is OK to shoot them, but to sell them for the purposes of their consumption by others is beyond the pale. People have been eating rooks for centuries (remember 'four-and-twenty black birds baked in a pie'? That was rook pie, that was, nothing to do with blackbirds) and people have been killing them for centuries. But for the participant in Activity 2 to give the proceeds to someone for the purpose of Activity 1 in exchange for some coin of the realm is apparently illegal.
Paul Cantwell, Natural England's species enforcement officer, said: "Under the provisions of a general licence issued by Natural England, it is legal to undertake control of rooks for certain purposes.Don't you love that 'technically legal'? Translation: you can do this, and this annoys us because we think you shouldn't. Part of me wants to ask what the poor bloody pigeon has done to deserve this status, but the key is in that phrase
"It is also technically legal for people to eat the birds they kill under the licence, but it has never been legal to sell wild birds killed for human consumption, with the exception of the wood pigeon."
Under the provisions of a general licence issued by Natural EnglandThere you have it. Natural food, grown and caught locally, sold locally, and eaten to satisfy Man's most basic instinct. And it needs a fucking licence. from Natural Fucking England, whoever they are.
What is not expressly permitted is forbidden.
Natural England said: "We would not want to encourage their [rooks'] killing, purely to supply a demand for human consumption and trade."Why not? Who is asking the same question on behalf of the poor bloody battery chicken?
It's the Walt Disney generation again. Shooting an animal in the wild and selling it to a local pub is morally repugnant. Making an animal live its life without air, free movement or natural food, killing it, wrapping it in plastic and putting it on a supermarket shelf is OK.
"From our part, they were bought in good faith. Obviously we won't be selling it again," he (pub manager Roger Serjant) said.Of course not. Step into line now. Good boy.
True story: A local pub-cum-eatery with a great reputation was raided a few years ago by the Police, along with Local Authority Environmental Health Inspectors. A diner in the pub had reported that the pub was serving heron on the menu. It's a protected species! The planet-raping bastards! The pub's entire stock was inspected, the freezers were impounded pending forensic analysis, and the proprietors' business severely interrupted. Goodness knows how many thousands of ratepayers' pounds were spent before someone thought to ask to see the actual menu. Sadly, the complainant must have been either dyslexic or pissed. It was herring.