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Squirrels make a “good food source” and should be served up as a way of controlling the population, the organiser of a controversial squirrel burger cooking contest said on Tuesday. Rachel Thomas staged the challenge at the Forest Showcase Food and Drink Festival in southwest England at the weekend, which proved a hit with punters but angered animal rights activists. Competitors had 115g of minced-up grey squirrel to work with – plus their imagination. A “Cajun Melt” effort came first ahead of “Chicken of the Tree Surprise”.

“There was plenty to go round. Lots of people came and tried and they were very tasty and very positively received,” exhibit co-ordinator Rachel Thomas told AFP. She described the taste as a combination of chicken and rabbit. “If you eat meat, why not squirrel? Lambs, rabbits, they’re all cute animals so we don’t see what the fuss is all about,” Thomas said. “They are, we think, a good food source. We decided, let’s get a bit of education out there, it’s about time they were managed properly.” Instead of simply trapping and gassing them, “we should be actually using them for a food source instead”.

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