SUPERMARKET supplier Musgrave has come under fire in Britain for allowing one of its franchise operators to sell squirrel meat.
Viva — Vegetarians International Voice for Animals — has accused Musgrave-owned Budgens of supporting a “barbaric and needless cull” of grey squirrels by allowing an independently owned branch in Crouch End, north London, to sell the meat.
Viva founder Juliet Gellatley said: “Culls of thousands of grey squirrels by so-called conservation groups to boost populations of red squirrels are irrational, inhumane and destined to fail, so it is very sad that Budgens are allowing profit to be made from wildlife massacre.”
Actress and Viva patron Jenny Seagrove also spoke out against the sales, saying: “It is unbelievable that our wild grey squirrels are now being killed and packaged up for sale in such high street stores.
“Anyone who cares about wildlife, as I do, should be appalled at Budgens for allowing this.
“What gruesome product will be next to grace our food aisles? Blackbird, field mouse or mole?”
A spokesman for Musgrave, which operates Budgens in Britain, and SuperValu and Centra in Ireland, is reported as saying: “As our retailers are independent, they therefore have the right and ability to secure products that Budgens do not offer for sale, within their individually owned stores.”
Squirrel meat used to be a common feature of the British diet but has gone out of fashion in recent years.
One modern chef who has served the meat is River Cottage’s Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.
His recipes include squirrel ragout and squirrel offal skewers, although he said rabbit could be substituted in both dishes.
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