Starling For Dinner

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Restaurant Pronckheer in Cothen, Utrecht, serves already for a while starling, who are shot in the orchard of the neighbors. Arjan Smit, owner of the restaurant, is not going to stop that, despite an angry letter from the Organisation for Protection of Birds (Vogelbescherming).

The province of Utrecht is now checking if it is actually allowed to prepare starling and Party for the Animals (PvdD) MP  and party leader Marianne Thieme has asked questions in the House on Tuesday to State Secretary Sharon Dijksma of Economic Affairs.

The Pronckheer serves mostly local products, such as goose and game from the floodplains and vegetables and herbs from the garden. To eat starling is not uncommon in southern European countries. Smit serves starlings fried or in a salad.


The owner of the orchard has a shooting permit for starlings. Thieme wants to know now, if the sole purpose for the permit is damage control, or that "the supply of a restaurant" also falls under the authorization rules. According to her, the starling is a protected species. The Pronckheer should have an exemption for keeping a protected species.

The starling is in Netherlands not on the so-called red list of endangered species. The number of starlings is however decreasing rapidly in recent years. According to the Vogelbescherming this is due to intensive agriculture and because there are more birds of prey like hawks and sparrow hawks.