28th February 2008 The River Lea, London The Daily Mail tells its readership how swan remains were found near a tent and "some cooking utensils" (a pan? A spoon?). channelling the paper's own mythmongering an angler described the indescribable scene of charnel horror to a reporter: "It's vile. You could see where they'd snapped off the wings and plucked them before cooking. These swans belong to the Queen and for someone to come here and butcher them is a disgrace. It makes me sick to my stomach. I have heard it is mostly Eastern Europeans who are camping here until they can get a house." The feckless swine.
26th March 2010 Swans 'eaten' at Peterborough The Daily Mail - in a fabulously insidious piece - breathlessly tells its readers that 6 swans have been killed and eaten at a camp in Peterborough, but that 'the true number is believed to be far higher'.
Local wildlife officer Kathy Hornig is more circumspect, telling the paper: "The people trying to catch swans are causing them extreme distress. But I cannot say with 100 per cent proof that the swan was killed for food, nor will I speculate about why it was here. I do not want to make any further comment."
31st March 2013 Two swans found shot near Bournemouth A pair of mute swans are found shot with crossbow bolts on the river Throop neaar Bournemouth. One is captured and the bolt is successfully removed. The other evades capture but is later found dead. A RSPCA spokesman is quoted in the Daily Telegraph as saying: "It is possible that someone who is non-British may have considered these swans to be food. In Britain swans are revered and are heavily protected. I suspect that this has been carried out by someone who is not aware of their status. Swans aren't far removed from a goose or turkey, a big bird with a lot of meat on them."
24th March 2014 Man reported 'beheading' a swan The Daily Express reports that a man witnesses another man beheading a swan while out fishing. The witness - named as Jon Robinson - challenged the man as he saw him stuffing the swan into a rucksack. The suspect fled when challenged and remained unidentified. The story also cites local 'confusion' as to the man's nationality - with some people alleging he was Eastern European or specifically Romanian. No evidence is given for these allegations. The Express also manages to squeeze in the old canard about the Queen's ownership of swans, telling its readers: "The Queen owns all Britain's Mute swans in a law dating back to the twelfth century, when they were considered a delicacy."
4th December 2014 The Duck Snatchers of Earith The 'sleepy' village of Earith, Cambridgeshire is driven into a flap by the alleged disappearance of a population of tame ducks from the village pond. The ducks had been a feature of the village for some years and feeding them was a popular pastime for the local children. At the beginning of December 2014, they "vanish" apparently along with other local wildfowl over the course of several days. Local councillor Hazel Lambert posts signs around the village reading: "DUCKS ON EARITH VILLAGE POND ARE BEING TAKEN AND IT'S NOT BY MR. FOX. FOUR DUCKS HAVE BEEN REMOVED WITHIN THE LAST WEEK. PLEASE KEEP A LOOK OUT." She tells The Daily Telegraph: "We can all have thoughts about who it might be that has stolen the ducks, but I don't want to point the finger. All I know is in different cultures the idea of capturing and eating wild fowl is quite normal. I suspect they have been taken for the pot, but their meat would be quite tough as they are all elderly." Other members of the parish council are equally forthright in their assertion, despite the tacit admission that there is no direct evidence, Coun. Ron Hodge saying: "It's one of those things, no one sees it and no one reports it so it keeps happening."