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THERE was a strong feeling in the House of Lords yesterday that Squirrel Nutkin desperately needs our help.
Indeed, Nutkin is in so much trouble this time that peers believe that it may be necessary to start eating his arch enemy. I speak not of Old Brown Owl, who is above that sort of thing, but of Nutkin’s ghastly American cousin, the grey squirrel.
I cannot tell you how horrible this imported creature is. “Tree rats!” hissed more than one lord. “Rats with good PR!” Peers noted, with genuine horror, that some people had been seen feeding crisps to these hooligans in parks. Surely this only encouraged the greys to continue their endless crime spree, in which they wreck trees and spread pox across the land.
If Beatrix Potter were alive today she would be writing The Tale of the Grey Tree-Rat, in which the eponymous villain would be a serial killer wearing horrible Bermuda shorts. One of the peers had met Beatrix Potter in 1941 and was sure of it. “She was a very tough businesswoman,” said Lord Chorley, “and she was a doughty fighter and didn’t suffer fools gladly. She would have been hugely effective in fighting for the red squirrels.”
In her absence, the peers had to make do with their own imaginations. Yesterday Earl Peel put himself in Nutkin’s little red furry shoes: “He may look back and think to himself, how could it all have gone so wretchedly wrong?” There was Tom Kitten, whose descendants were adored despite their lust for wild birds (160 million killed per year). Then there was Mr Todd Fox, who had already received 700 hours of parliamentary time, and Tommy Brock who had managed to become beloved (and protected) despite his sinister links to bovine TB.
The peers knew exactly what today’s little red Nutkins needed: good PR. Not enough people knew about a survey by the European Squirrel Initiative, which showed that 74 per cent of people approved of controlling the grey to preserve the red. But the lords and ladies were not content to stop there.
They needed a bigger and better idea: if they didn’t do something radical then Nutkin and his friends were going to be “toast”. This was an unfortunate image for, surely, Nutkin-on-toast would never catch on.
But Lord Inglewood had other ideas about the grey. “Would they be good to eat?” he demanded. He thought so. Indeed the L.L. Bean Game and Fish Cookbook said as much: “Squirrel meat is the most delicious of all small games. Young squirrel is better than rabbit or chicken.”
He announced that, in the national interest, he was prepared to “give it a go”. But then Lord Inglewood had an even better idea. Why stop at a random menu item? Why not an entire dinner party? “What I would like to do is to invite each and every one of the front bench Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Department team to the hotel in the Lake District where I am a director, and also has one AA rosette for fine food, to dine on grey squirrels to launch an ‘Eat a Grey and Save a Red’ campaign!”
I don’t know about the front bench (such fussy eaters) but other peers certainly looked keen. A field trip! A squirrel awayday with a “eat your enemy” theme! Oh Nutkin would have loved it so.
The L.L. Bean Game and Fish Cookbook says that squirrel can be cooked in a variety of ways. Recipes include, squirrel stew with black olives, and squirrel stroganoff. Squirrel can be substituted in recipes for rabbit, pheasant, grouse or partridge. It says that mustard goes well with any squirrel recipe.
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Full article, source. :: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article...100910,00.html
The Protected, our red friend. :: http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/wildfact...iles/191.shtml
The Enemy :: http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/wildfact...iles/190.shtml
And this comes only two months after a massive cull was announced in England too. Who'd wanna be a Grey Squirrel eh?
The Red Squirrel would probably say, "it''s not what you know, but who you know."
Would you eat one? Do you oppose the action or disagree with the view held here in Britain?