Dateline: 23rd August 2013
Swan found 'barbecued' in Windsor
The news wires are ablaze today with the story that swan has been found 'beaten and barbecued' in Windsor, and that it has been 'stripped of meat'.
We have covered such stories on Weird Island in some depth, as they are usually allied to the belief that immigrants to the UK eat swans out of either ignorance of our traditions and laws (swans are protected under the 1981 Countryside and Wildlife act) or through their sheer venality and material want (hinted at heavily in the sensationalist press).
In this case, we note that the conflation of immigrants and this apparent crime is only hinted at. The swan's corpse wasn't found near an immigrant settlement, but on a quiet island, accessible only via a footbridge and quite some way off the beaten path.
The story seems to be largely driven by Swan Lifeline - a charity dedicated to the protection and rescue of swans. Spokeswoman Wendy Hermon told the press:
"It was the remains of what looked like a swan that had been cooked. They had skinned it as well and possibly barbecued it there, on a disposable barbecue," she said."
As with other cases, we add some sceptical notes at this juncture. Firstly, note that her 'possibly' barbecue becomes the leading aspect of most headlines, despite the lack of evidence that this is so. No one would have dragged their actual barbecue to the site, we presume, hence Ms. Hermon's suggestion of a disposable barbecue. That said, why would anyone not leave such a barbecue behind? Anyone who has used one will know that they do not cool for several hours so the alleged chef would have had to have hung around for a while after cooking the bird, then disposed of their barbecue - an altogether odd set of affairs when you think about it.
We also note that - as with other alleged cases of swan eating - that the carcass hasn't even been denuded of its feathers, neck or wings. If the bird was intended to be eaten, then it is a cack-handed chef indeed who would prepare it in such a slapdash fashion.
In summary, we are left with a dead bird which appears to have been burnt. In the absence of an autopsy, we can't even at this stage be sure that the bird was killed by human agency, much less whether it was killed for food or cooked.
Of course, given humanity's generally limitless capacity for random acts of cruelty and mayhem, we don't discount the possibility that this is a real act of swanicide - but we remain doubtful until proper proofs are put in the public domain.
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