Are swans being 'captured and eaten' in Lincoln?
Police fears for swans after five go missing in possibly 'linked' events either side of Christmas
POLICE fear swans in Lincoln are being captured, killed and eaten after one bird was found "in a bag done up like a turkey". The Daily Telegraph reports that the remains of five birds have been found close to the city’s Fosdyke canal – despite it being illegal to injure, kill or eat the animals under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
Police found just the head and feet of two swans close to the canal in the run-up to Christmas. According to the Telegraph, their bodies had disappeared. Three others have gone missing since Christmas, and police are investigating whether the disappearances might be linked.
Swans were eaten by the aristocracy during Tudor/Elizabethan times but have since been declared the property of the Queen.
Charlotte Childs, of the RSPCA, said she feared the swans might have been eaten as a "Christmas delicacy". Lincoln police officer Nick Willey shared her fears, saying: "The evidence we have is that there is little left of the bodies and for the want of better words one of the birds was found in a bag done up like a turkey.
"Swans, like any wild bird, are protected by law so this is not only very cruel, but it's also illegal."
Outside Britain’s royal family, the only people allowed to eat swans are fellows of St John's College, Cambridge, according to The Guardian.
The days of eating swan may be long gone, but there are still recipes around. According to The Old Foodie, swans should be plucked "like a chicken or goose" and eaten with "yellow pepper". Alternatively one can cook the swan with all its feathers: simply put it on the spit "and skewer it and gild it".
In 2006, Shamshu Miah was jailed for two months for stabbing and eating a swan because he was hungry, reports the BBC.