One woman known as the “Mother of Swans” because she cares for the graceful birds near her home on the Baltic Sea island of Rügen was furious that the Gutshaus Kubbelkow was serving her feathered friends as dinner.
“I don’t feed the animals just so others shoot them and put them on the menu,” Rosemarie Halliger, 92, told the regional Ostsee Zeitung newspaper.
But they are being shot and eaten, Holger Nebel, chairman of the hunters’ association told the paper. He said his hunters killed 146 swans last season – often following requests by farmers who see their crops eaten by the large birds. Attempts to scare off swans or geese were a waste of time, he said.
“They fly around in a circle and then are even more hungry than before,” he said.
Axel Diemback at Gutshaus Kubbelkow has been hunting, cooking and serving swan in the restaurant since he came across recipes for the bird in a historical cookbook.
In a statement on the restaurant’s website he describes how he asked around and discovered that they were being shot to keep numbers under control – but that their bodies were being buried.
“The senseless killing of an animal and the waste of food goes against my upbringing, my education and my ethics,” he said.
But he said that since the matter had become an issue, the pressure had increased to drop the bird from the menu – and this had now been done.
“Out of respect for the feelings of swan-meat opponents and in order to put an end to these discussions of the pro and contra arguments for this emotionally loaded product, we will no longer offer swan meat on our menu,” his statement ends.