STOCKHOLM, Sweden, July 13 (UPI) -- The Swedish Ornithological Society has warned Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt to avoid cuisine that includes songbirds during upcoming visits to Cyprus.
Reinfeldt and other Swedish and European officials are heading to Cyprus in the next six months as the country takes over the European Union presidency, The Local.se reported.
In a letter to the prime minister's office, the Swedish Ornithological Society warned Reinfeldt about eating the traditional Cypriot dish ambelopoulia, which involves as many as 12 grilled, pickled or boiled small songbirds and is considered a delicacy in Cyprus.
The society said songbirds are caught by using mist nets or lime sticks glued to trees, then poachers kill the birds by impaling their throats with toothpicks.
Serving ambelopoulia is illegal in Cyrus, but the dish is still available in many Cypriot restaurants and can cost as much as $100.
The society said around 2 million songbirds are caught for the dish every year and allegedly the hunt is run by organized crime.
The society said illegal bird hunts in Cyprus should be an international concern as it affects migratory birds.