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Backlash over TV farmer’s plans to sell squirrel burgers at game fair

25 Aug 2023 4 minute read
Gareth Wyn Jones.

A TV farmer has hit back after suffering a fierce backlash over his plan to serve squirrel burgers at a two-day north Wales game fair.

Influencer Gareth Wyn Jones, who has a million followers on social media including 750,000 subscribers to his YouTube channel, has been on the end of abuse online since he went public with an appeal for supplies of freshly killed grey squirrel to make the patties.

Gareth will be running the pop-up restaurant Cwtch Kitchen at the Welsh Game Fair, staged in association with the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, at the Faenol Estate, near Bangor, on the weekend of September 9 and 10.

He plans to put the burgers on the menu at the event and is also suggesting serving them in a calzone, a folded pizza.

Gareth, a star of the television series, The Family Farm who farms at Ty’n Llwyfan in the foothills of the Carneddau Range above Llanfairfechan, in Conwy, said: “I’ve eaten it that way in Majorca cooked by Chris ‘Flamebaster’ Roberts for S4C and it would be perfect washed down with a glass of red Rondo from the Gwinllan Conwy vineyard.

“I’ve been deluged with offers of grey squirrel but I’ve had a fair bit of abuse from uneducated people with full bellies too. They’re nuts.”

That included loopy44 who posted: “I think that’s a horrendous idea for burgers – next you will be suggesting seagulls. You are only doing it for notoriety. I definitely prefer to see my squirrels happy in trees.

Hawkeye responded: “You can stick them where squirrels stuff their nuts! Why not rat burgers, same thing but no bushy tail!!!” while imageezer blasted: “The man is sick in the head.”

On Twitter there was: “Exactly what I’d expect from a Neanderthal, backward-thinking mug like Jones… the sooner we see the back of his industry the better.”

Taste

But Gareth has his supporters too and indigodebz said: “Makes total sense to me, we import and transport far too much food.

“Eat local, eat seasonal. I’m up for trying a squirrel burger if they’re genuinely having to be culled and would go to waste otherwise.”

Jonesey added: “I killed, gutted, cooked and ate a couple of grey squirrels many, many years ago … part of a survival course thing. As I remember they didn’t taste particularly good or particularly bad. As the bloke says, a bit like chicken.”
Gareth’s response was: “We should be supporting our native red squirrels. It’s all about getting that message out there.

“Every single grey that’s culled is protecting our native red population so let’s do it.

“Grey squirrels are an invasive species so the more we shoot the better and if we can add value by turning them into tasty food that’s even better.

“Even in the USA they’re a pest. They have Douglas red squirrels in Washington state and they’re being affected by the greys so people are encouraged to shoot them.”

Activities

The Welsh Game Fair will take place over two days at the famous estate above the Menai Straits.

The main arena which will stage a rolling programme of events and displays including demonstrations by the Clwyd Axemen and wild-fowler Chris Green, the Cornish Countryman, and teams of spaniels and retrievers battling it out in the Four Nations International.

There will be a range of activities including archery, fishing, airgun shooting, clay pigeon shooting and gun-dog handling and to learn how to survive in the wild with bushcraft master Huw Jones of Ynys Twca.

The event is also a fund-raiser for countryside charity the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust – a 92-year-old charity that conducts research into Wales’s most vulnerable species.

James Gower, chief executive of Stable Events which organises the show, alongside The Game Fair and the Scottish Game Fair, said they’re aiming to double last year’s attendance figures and get 20,000 people through the gates this time.

He said: “Our aim is to celebrate everything that is best about the countryside and rural pursuits, including the wider benefits of conservation and field sports.

“We’ll have gundogs, clay shooting, archery, fishing, food and falconry – not to mention the amazing shopping at the wide range of stalls.

“Over the two days we have a jam-packed itinerary of displays, demonstrations, have-a-go attractions and exhibitors.”

The Welsh Game Fair is open each day from 9am to 5.30pm with free parking and children under eight admitted free. For more on the Welsh Game Fair go to https://www.welshgamefair.org/


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Another Richard
Another Richard
6 months ago

I cannot see how anyone other than the most dogmatic vegan could object to grey squirrels as a food source. They are healthy, tasty and ethical. I bought one from a farmers’ market last year – £4, skinned and gutted. It made a delicious casserole with carrots, fennel and pearl barley, enough for two.

Doctor Trousers
6 months ago

idiotic. I don’t eat meat at all, but if you are going to eat animals at all, then an invasive species that needs to be culled anyway is something you should be eating.
I can guarantee you the vast majority of the people complaining about this are meat eaters who neverv usually give a second of thought to what they stick in their gobs. You don’t like the thought of eating something with a cute wee face? Aw diddums, neither do I, that’s why I don’t eat cows.

Richard 1
Richard 1
6 months ago

When my wife was buying them for her restaurant in Llandrindod I understood that they’re best when killed in late summer or autumn when they’ve been eating nuts, not earlier in the year when they’ve been eating birds’ eggs. They were quite popular.
Objecting to people eating invasive vermin is ignorant.

Rheinallt morgan
Rheinallt morgan
6 months ago

I don’t understand where the source of this fierce backlash is. Anyone help me out.

Ap Kenneth
Ap Kenneth
6 months ago

Pine Martin will do a better job than Gareth and are not addicted to attention.

Jeff
Jeff
6 months ago

Yeah, Dave down the pub can get a few?
Like to know my food at shows meets certain standards, I assume there will be the same standards here, not disiesed etc.?
Tried pheasant once, too much lead. What will a squirell be like when this lot have had their way with one or is it death by land rover, and served as a Pizza topping. I know they are invasive but then I dont do cruelity either. But Hunt’n n shooting show, time the shooting estates were shut down.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
6 months ago

Um, as a staunch vegetarian brought up on rabbit and wood pigeon but not hedgepig or squirrel I’ll leave it to taste…

Ryan
Ryan
6 months ago

Fully agree with Gareth. I’ve eaten them, and enjoyed them.

Jason Bowen
Jason Bowen
5 months ago

The only true sustainable way of replacing the greys with the reds they diseased out……it with the sterilisation of grey females. Which is now possible in recent breakthroughs using medication

Bethan
Bethan
5 months ago

Yep. That sounds like social media alright. Some people enjoy eating squirrels, some people enjoy watching squirrels scamper around in the park, some people enjoy going online and arguing. Whatever works.

Cymro
Cymro
5 months ago

This just in: “Man eats squirrels – people are upset.”

I don’t know what’s more tragic in this article; the arguments against eating squirrels or the argumens for.

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