Sunday 16 November 2014

Week 23: Film Preview - Emptying The Skies

Not quite the red carpet but a red line to Screen 2 at the Rich Mix Cinema for a screening of the documentary film "Emptying the Skies" by Douglas Kass, inspired by the article from New Yorker journalist Jonathan Franzen.

Franzen set off around Europe, along with members of the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) to witness at first hand the large scale and illegal poaching and slaughter of millions of birds for the table, as they migrate from Africa up into and across Europe.

These tiny birds - many of which are familiar to our gardens are considered a delicacy ambelopoulia, and killed in their thousands. Those not suitable for eating are left for dead and discarded regardless of the fact they are protected and many are on the endangered list.  Robins, blackcaps, flycatchers, warblers, buntings, finches, thrushes, nightingales, cuckoos, turtledoves and even small owls and hawks.

It is seen and justified as a 'tradition' and a right.  What's the harm in taking only a few small birds, they say.  But for birds that already declining due to habitat loss and pressure from development, those 'few small birds' add up to thousands being slaughtered on a daily basis during their annual migration.

While I was aware of the hunters in Malta who shoot anything that flies over for sport, I had no idea of the scale of trapping that occurs in Cyprus, Italy and France.

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