Hunting of ortolans must end - minister

Ecology Minister Nicolas Hulot says poaching of ortolans in the Landes must cease and the area’s prefect should step up surveillance, checks and fines.

Despite it being illegal to hunt the songbirds (a protected, endangered species) around 30,000 are still caught every year in August and September.

They are fattened and sold for up to €150 each then drowned in Armagnac before being cooked. Fans of the clandestine meal eat them whole with a cloth over their head to trap the smells given off by the dish.

There must be “no tolerance”, says Mr Hulot, whether towards poachers or intermediaries who trade in them.

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