Monday, 14 January 2008

Hamster Jam?

There is a report ( that a loop-hole in EU law (they obtained an exemption in 2003) is allowing people in Poland and Hungary to kill wild European or Black-bellied ( hamsters (Cricetus cricetus) so that their pelts can be tanned (Budapest is a centre for such activities) before being sold via a dealer (including one called Chichester in Niagara, New York) to the fashion and sports trade (it is used for making pillows, jacket linings and fishing flies). This larger relative of the 'pet' Golden hamster (pictured above) is regarded in Eastern Europe as an agricultural pest (it eats grain as well as insects, small birds and mammals) and is hunted (it is claimed, largely by gypsies) largely for economic reasons. This seems rather strange when the German government is simultaneously attempting to repopulate areas of East Germany where this animal has largely disappeared (,1518,455996,00.html).

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