aibu to think they knew stealing two swans from the park to eat is illegal?

(85 Posts)
inneedofsomehelpplz Sat 07-Sep-13 08:24:54

watched emergency animal rescue & the rspca were called as two men were seen taking two swans home from the park - the rspca went to the house & eventually someone turned up to translate. they stated that they bought birds to release in the park for their kids to play with. so why was there a swans head in the bin along with feathers & poor swans were cooking in a pot. if they didnt think theyd doneanything wrong, why lie?

swans are amazing creatures & aibu to think that they shouldve been arrested & charged?

SanityClause Sat 07-Sep-13 08:33:52

It doesn't matter if they knew it or not. Ignorance of the law is no defence.

Having said that, my grandfather was a £10 Pom. He went to Australia, because he was fed up with the UK. He lived with his widowed mother and they had a small patch of garden on the land rented from a member of the local gentry. He shot a pheasant which was eating the vegetables he had tended to help feed his mother and siblings. This was poaching, as the pheasant was shot on the landlord's land.

He couldn't afford to pay the fine, and was jailed for 2 weeks. The local vicar came round to tell him what a terrible thing he had done.

So, what was more important, in your opinion, OP? The pretty bird, or the hungry people?

EmpireBiscuit Sat 07-Sep-13 08:35:24

Do all swans not belong to the queen? Or some equally odd rule.

phantomhairpuller Sat 07-Sep-13 08:38:15

I thought it was illegal to kill swans as they all belong to the queen. Or something like that?

SanityClause Sat 07-Sep-13 08:41:39

Not all swans belong to the queen. There is a bizarre ritual every year, where swans are tagged to show that they belong to one of three parties, one of which is the queen. No one else has the right to participate in this ritual, so you can't have your own swan.

I'd google it, but I'm just not that interested. wink

I think untagged swans don't belong to anyone.

I'm glad I'm not so desperate for food to chase a fucking swan though.

hettienne Sat 07-Sep-13 08:49:28

I'd assume you have to be pretty desperate to eat a swan, especially if you have kids to feed.

Are swans any more amazing than chickens, ducks, pigs?

Deathbyladybirds Sat 07-Sep-13 08:50:30

I think you have to do funny things to Swan meat to make it edible, read a history book about it.

crypes Sat 07-Sep-13 08:51:53

Perhaps there is a recipe from olden days for swan and blackberries.

See I thought swans and daffodils belong to the queen so you cant nick either of them.

What I'm amazed at is the fact they chased and caught two swans! They are nasty fuckers those swans, not a chance you would find me chasing them.

inneedofsomehelpplz Sat 07-Sep-13 08:53:24

it is illegal to steal swans from the park & kill them.

DropYourSword Sat 07-Sep-13 08:54:48

I thought all swans came under the queens protection.

Not exactly sure HOW she'd protect them though, they can be viscious bugger's!!

DropYourSword Sat 07-Sep-13 08:55:26


waltzingmathilda Sat 07-Sep-13 08:55:26

Tupping. It is swan tupping. Not tagging. And it only applies to mute swans on The Thames. Not swans in village ponds and parks up and down the country.

SilverApples Sat 07-Sep-13 09:01:31

Matilda you plonker, it is Swan Upping. Tupping a swan is far more difficult and definitely illegal.

minibmw2010 Sat 07-Sep-13 09:01:48

We don't know that they took them because they were starving, in some cultures they just don't respect wildlife's right to live and don't see it as theft. A friend of mine, who is highly educated and Polish, still sees nothing wrong with fishing for Carp wherever they want, regardless of whether its theft just because that's what they did at home.

Booooom Sat 07-Sep-13 09:02:48

I wonder if it tasted like goose?

Don't ever replace onions with daffodil bulbs though - they taste similar, but a friend of mine did this and is extremely ill in hospital at the moment. He'll be ok though, they think he'll be out in spring.

SilverApples Sat 07-Sep-13 09:04:04

SP, I think the grown-ups lied to you about the daffodils.
Wildflowers do have protection of various sorts, and you can't dig them up either.

Misspixietrix Sat 07-Sep-13 09:05:49

Crypes grin

aGnotherGnu Sat 07-Sep-13 09:08:16

The OP on the blackberries thread would approve. It's starting to look like a balance diet.

Booooom hahaha grin

aGnotherGnu Sat 07-Sep-13 09:09:06

Doh crypes had beaten me!

Silver Really?! blush I always thought you couldn't pick them because you gets arrested if caught due to them been the queens!

SilverApples Sat 07-Sep-13 09:10:25

Depends where they are, and if they belong to the Parks dept. grin

kim147 Sat 07-Sep-13 09:11:54

What about ducks?
Surely they are an easier target grin

I got to nearly 23 believing that!

Misspixietrix Sat 07-Sep-13 09:15:12

Precisely Horry Iwouldnt know where to start!

kim147 Sat 07-Sep-13 09:15:20

Don't worry, SPS, I'm 43 a bit older than you and though that.

Kim Tastier too no doubt

Tee2072 Sat 07-Sep-13 09:15:43

grin Boooom

I think swan is very oily.

I don't think the Queen owns my daffodils. Especially as I live in Northern Ireland. There would, probably, be a parade about it if she did.

lol crypes

Booooom Sat 07-Sep-13 09:17:50

How did the men take the swans when everyone knows that a swan's wing can break a man's arm.
They must be very brave.

MrsGeologist Sat 07-Sep-13 09:20:03

Swans apparently taste like shit anyway, unless they are corn fed swans.

SilverApples Sat 07-Sep-13 09:25:37

Not brave, you can use a snare, or a wire loop on a stick.

applebread Sat 07-Sep-13 09:27:42

I was crying at daffodils

I am weeping at swan tupping

Thank you mn

petrock Sat 07-Sep-13 09:31:48

Why can't they just buy their swan from Waitrose like everyone else?

Misspixietrix Sat 07-Sep-13 09:36:27

Petrock its no fun that way wink

Misspixietrix Sat 07-Sep-13 09:37:28

applebread MN hasnt half cheered me up this weekend grin

ProudAS Sat 07-Sep-13 09:39:46

I wouldn't go so far as to call myself an expert but I have been taking an interest in local swans for many years and fundraising for a rescue centre.

Most of the mute swans in Britain belong to the queen although there are a few exceptions.

They can be vicious but some are very docile. There are ways to grab a swan without hurting it or you but they were taking a risk if they didn't know what they were doing.

I think the bit about swans being able to break an arm is a myth (maybe someone is aware of it actually happening) but they can inflict bruises.

Taking mute swans to eat is almost certainly illegal in UK. I'm not sure about other swan species.

Swans mate for life, so good on them for taking both if them, Swans put up a hell of a fight, so it must have took some effort.

There does have to be a conscious breaking of the law, for the case to stand up in court, so not knowing an act is illegal is a defence.

I think that if we honestly need food banks then poaching is valid, it doesn't matter what the creature is.

I don't eat meat, though, so have a different view on what animal is ok to live and die, usually in misery.

Although I don't eat meat, I agree with hunting, at least the animal has had a life.

I hope that they have had a finance/welfare check, otherwise the cat population may have a sudden drop grin

absentmindeddooooodles Sat 07-Sep-13 09:44:16

Sp someone told me that too.

I read recently (in an article about the swan counting) that a swan couldn't break a man's arm but could potentially break a more fragile arm eg on someone with osteoporosis, or a toddler.

ParsingFancy Sat 07-Sep-13 09:49:12

Dying here at swan tupping.

It's illegal to kill almost all wild birds in Britain. There are a few common species that you can kill under a general licence (with the landowner's permission) if they're seriously damaging crops or causing a serious public health or nature conservation problem (though you're supposed to try non-lethal solutions like scaring first). And a few more are on the quarry list so you can kill them during the open season. Mute Swans are protected at all times, ditto our two other swan species.

TeaLadyExtraordinaire Sat 07-Sep-13 10:12:26

Swan Upping - it's where the saying One Upmanship comes from !

I'd love to see someone tup a swan !!!

williaminajetfighter Sat 07-Sep-13 10:25:21

Apparently swans taste like crap.

At Lancaster university peacocks walk around the grounds. Rumour has it every year a few foreign students round some up for an exotic dinner. Dunno if it's true or not. Perhaps people have a different take on what's edible and appropriate to snatch.

AndIFeedEmGunpowder Sat 07-Sep-13 10:25:25

This thread reminds me of that article in the paper a few years ago about the man who ate a swam because he was so hungry after Ramadan. hmm

Aah! <reminisces fondly> It was like Daily Mail bingo.

comingalongnicely Sat 07-Sep-13 10:28:43

Funny really, you can eat goose, duck, chicken, turkey, pheasant, partridge, pigeon & probably a few more but people get upset about swans.

I'd have no problems having a swan for christmas dinner - as long as it had been reared in the same conditions as the equivalent goose or turkey.

Plus the buggers are everywhere now, as they have very few predators - before you know it they'll be going "urban", rifling through bins & nicking babies...

Eat the lot I say!

Isn't swan served every year at the St John's College Cambridge May Ball?

But that's for posh people so it doesn't count. wink

Silverfoxballs Sat 07-Sep-13 10:35:48

One of DS ambitions is to taste swan

Just eat a horse instead. Many more meals than a measly swan

Lethologica Sat 07-Sep-13 10:41:35

I wish people would eat some of the Canadien geese around here. There. Are bloody millions of them and they are shitty and noisy. confused

SanityClause Sat 07-Sep-13 10:44:38

Where would you get a horse from, giraffes? A new forest pony, perhaps?

ZolaBuddleia Sat 07-Sep-13 10:54:13

We were feeding the geese in a park when out of nowhere a man appeared to tell us the reason there were no ducks there anymore was because "all the immigrants have eaten them". shock

Elsiequadrille Sat 07-Sep-13 11:02:18

"Don't ever replace onions with daffodil bulbs though - they taste similar, but a friend of mine did this and is extremely ill in hospital at the moment. He'll be ok though, they think he'll be out in spring."

Brilliant grin

ProudAS Sat 07-Sep-13 11:07:03

Its a myth about them mating for life BTW. Local female is on mate no 4 (previous three died from various causes). They have also been known to 'wife steal'.

pianodoodle Sat 07-Sep-13 11:07:25

Wouldn't fancy tackling a swan myself they can get scary!

Yes they probably knew what they were doing was illegal.

Can't remember what type of swan belongs to the Queen. I think you have to at least offer her a bite or something.

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 07-Sep-13 11:12:08

How disgusting. Bloody disgusting. I hope they're prosecuted. Sheer ignorance to do this.

They'll get a new mate if the old one dies, but separation is quite rare in swans - rate of about 6%. That doesn't mean they are devotedly faithful though. About one brood in three show extra-pair paternity.

One more interesting swan statistic - about 25% of black swan pairs are homosexual.

Zula was he referring to the Canadian Geese as the immigrants, attacking and eating the native ducks? grin

Bloody Canadian immigrant geese, they're everywhere, waving their maple leaves, shitting on our grass, stealing our duck's bread from their beaks...

So sorry Zola, don't know where the 'u' came from.

ZolaBuddleia Sat 07-Sep-13 11:28:30

I'm afraid not, Alex, he muttered the word "Albanians" in a rather dark fashion. grin

grin Alex!

I feel the same about Canadian geese. Watching the ducks face off with them over territory is hilarious though.

What do you reckon, would bread fed Canadian goose be tasty?

Mimishimi Sat 07-Sep-13 11:30:47

SanityClauseWe don't have pheasants in Australia. Or did he move to Australia because of going to jail over pheasant poaching in the UK?

OP: That's disgusting. i am sure they knew they were doing the wrong thing. Similarly, we've had ducks go missing from our local duckponds in similar incidents.

Mimishimi Sat 07-Sep-13 11:31:09

Argh, tautology. Sorry

Ooh look - swan burger recipe

<runs away>

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 07-Sep-13 11:53:33

"Swans mate for life, so good on them for taking both if them"

Good on em? seriously?

Well some Albanians speak French, and duck a l'orange is a French dish so I can see how he came to his tenuous link, alongside a large dose of Daily Mail exposure.
How are people not embarrassed to air their stupid views in public?

TeWi I am off down the canal later to feed the geese some tiger bread, I shall let you know of the culinary results.
not really, those geese are proper hard and scary and bully me into feeding them by flapping and staring at me with their beady little eyes.

We do have a fearless drake who was absolutely refusing to move for them the other day, he was brilliant.
I often make the dc walk home from school that way just so we can visit and watch them. I really ought to get out more. grin

Latara Sat 07-Sep-13 12:01:35

I like swans even though they are nasty angry birds when provoked (or just hungry).

Bad people for eating them. sad

SilverApples Sat 07-Sep-13 12:02:05

Swans also co-parent, so if they had a late brood this year those cygnets are on their own.
How can anyone think 'Good, well done' at the random slaughter of wildlife?
Would you think the same if you were mugged for your shopping by a hungry person who was struggling and saw you had loads of food? Or decided that your pet bunnies and piggies were suitable foraging materials?
It's a crime to kill a swan.

ihavenonameonhere Sat 07-Sep-13 12:07:48


Yes a swan can break a mans arm

Adrian Mole reference ;)

nicename Sat 07-Sep-13 12:11:37

I was chased by a swan once. It was after a baguette that I had in my grocery bag. I don't like them evil buggers with their beady eyes.

I have often wondered what squirrel tastes like though. Pigeon has too many bones. Frogs legs taste like chicken and horse isn't very nice. Haven't tried snails (I do have some standards).

inneedofsomehelpplz Sat 07-Sep-13 12:16:19

i dont really find it funny tbh - not sure what language they were speaking so for all i know they might have slit the swans throat for halal meat which is barbaric. it doesnt matter what they sodding well do/eat in their own country - if they want to live here then abide by ourrules/laws! & yes, what if they had signets? & by the look of their house, they had a bob or two.

Booooom Sat 07-Sep-13 12:16:22

Someone told me that squirrel meat tasted nutty - I think they were taking the piss though. Probably tastes like chicken.

ParsingFancy Sat 07-Sep-13 12:17:07

When the ducks went missing from FIL's local park, it was the swans wot dunnit! shock

He saw the murder being committed. Little fluffy ducklings and all.sad

RattersReward Sat 07-Sep-13 12:21:33

I have first hand knowledge of Eastern Europeans illegally taking wild fowl and fish from lakes in a country park for the purpose of eating them.

The fish were from specific fishing lakes where everybody else had fishing licences and permits and returned the fish to the lakes before they went home. The Eastern Europeans fished at the lakes without the licences etc and took all the fish home. They emptied the lakes in about a fortnight.

The wild fowl were caught because the Eastern Europeans disturbed their nests, the adult birds swam over to protect the nests, were caught, had their wings broken and were fairly brutally killed.

I should think that it was obvious to the Eastern Europeans that in this instance their conduct was illegal in this country. In fact the problem was so extensive the police were brought in by the country park staff.

Halal swan?! Novel.

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 07-Sep-13 12:24:30

It does take a while to fit in to your new home and new country. But you begin (I've done this) by finding out how things work in your new home, and you respect that, not just the legal / illegal stuff but the cultural norms as well. It's just what you do when you go to live abroad. Isn't that obvious?

PasswordProtected Sat 07-Sep-13 12:37:36

It is swan upping. You tup rams to show which ewe has been covered ;-)
I have eaten swan, it was many years ago & the swan in question had been obtained legally. It tasted like a cross between goose and chicken.
Swans can be quite vicious, if they feel threatened, and it is best not to upset them if you are at the sharp end of an eight as you have nowhere to go - other than for a fast swim!

mrsmalcolmreynolds Sat 07-Sep-13 14:29:13

Birdsgottafly - you're not quite right re: ignorance being a defence. For most crimes there needs to be an element of intention to do whatever it is the crime involves - it's technically called the mens rea. However that is not the same thing as knowing that what you're doing is against the law. So for example the mens rea for theft is an intention to permanently deprive the person of whatever it is you've taken. Provided you meant to do that and did in fact take the item, you'd be guilty of theft even if (unlikely I realise!) you didn't realise that it was a crime.

End of pedantic law lecture. ..

specialsubject Sat 07-Sep-13 14:31:48

I'm rather impressed that they managed to 'take swans home'. They are BIG and aggressive.

SubliminalMassaging Sat 07-Sep-13 14:35:50

Ratters I used to live opposite a private fishing lake and exactly the same thing happened there as well! They had to put signs up in Polish!

BlingBang Sat 07-Sep-13 14:52:06

At least they ate them rather than just killed them for fun. We had two Swans killed in a local park just for the hell of it. Think they're were cygnets left behind as well.

Szeli Sat 07-Sep-13 15:16:53

william can't say I've ever noticed peacocks at the uni - maybe there's been a couple of massive feasts recently..

nicename Sat 07-Sep-13 15:19:24

At least they didn't start whinging about it being their 'right' to eat swan.

I can't for the life of me think how anyone could look at a swan and think 'hmmm, bigger than a chicken...'

digerd Sat 07-Sep-13 15:45:42

Swans are usually in pairs and mate for life. At this time of year they are still rearing and protecting their young. Even experienced rspca workers have difficulty catching a swan.

We have a widowed swan with 6 cygnets on our canal bank this year and wonder what happened to its life-long mate sad.
The males do sometimes fight to the death over territory. Females do not get involved as, sensibly, stay back protecting their young. I was watching 2 families once with the males just circling round each other with shows of machoness. The female opposite my garden got fed up and took her babies back to the nest to await the return of her mate grin

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