Diko MP Christos Orphanides has accused Britons of hypocrisy for slamming Cypriots over the mass death of around 60 migratory flamingos at the Larnaca salt lake on January 25, which prompted a strong public reaction.
The necropsy on the birds revealed the birds could have died from lead poisoning, after pellets containing lead were found in their stomachs. The official explanation from the Game and Fauna Fund was that the pellets had been left over from a former shooting range nearby which in the recent heavy rains had entered the lake and poisoned the birds.
However, the Green Party said they were not convinced by the explanation, claiming that sewerage waste was responsible and that the shooting range was moved some 15 years ago while the pellets had been removed at the time.
With criticism regarding the flamingos’ deaths and the uncertainty regarding the cause pouring in particularly from Britain, Orphanides said “killing migratory birds is exactly what Britain has been doing for years”.
“What’s going on over there is nothing short of an eco-crime,” he told Politis newspaper on Thursday.
“With their so-called ‘traditional hunting’ they are keeping alive an activity that has killed millions of migratory birds so far.
He claimed that the British authorities were lying to the public saying that they only killed birds that harm crops.
“They simply glorify hunting and advertise it to attract people from other countries, organising hunting campaigns even with children. Important migratory corridors in Britain have seen the decimation of the birds’ population.”
Orphanides claimed that 50 per cent out of 11 species of migratory birds have been killed over the past 140 years in Britain.
“Furthermore, an alarmingly rapid decrease has been observed in the number of green-headed mallards, thrushes, redhead ducks, blackbirds, pheasants and woodcocks in Britain. These are species of birds that have been systematically hunted.”
On January 16, The Sun reported that hunting companies are currently offering tourists the possibility of shooting deer and stags for as little as £70 per tour.
Companies are also offering trips to foreign hunters to shoot bison in Scotland, with prices varying depending on the size of the “trophy”.
Animal rights campaigners and activists have increased their calls for a ban on trophy hunting in Britain.
Orphanides lamented “a case of double standards” when it comes from criticism regarding the recent string of flamingo deaths in Cyprus and, more in general, regarding hunting in the country, “at a time where killing animals for fun in Britain is considered normal.”