Marlena Spieler, “Saving a Squirrel by Eating One,” The New York Times, January 7, 2009
“While some have difficulty with the cuteness versus deliciousness ratio – that adorable little face, those itty-bitty claws – many feel that eating a squirrel is a way to do something good for the environment while enjoying a unique gastronomical experience,” writes New York Times journalist Marlena Spieler in this article chronicling Britain’s efforts to save its indigenous red squirrel population from an influx of North American gray squirrels. “The grays take over the reds’ habitat, eat voraciously and harbor a virus named squirrel parapox (harmless to humans) that does not harm grays but can devastate reds,” according to Spieler, who credits the “Save Our Squirrels” campaign with
creating a market for culled squirrel meat among TV chefs, cookbooks, farmers’ markets, and restaurants. Hunters, gamekeepers and the U.K. Forestry Commission apparently supply the delicacy, which has been promoted as a low-fat alternative to other game animals. “Part of the interest is curiosity and novelty. It’s a great conversation starter for dinner parties,” one squirrel purveyor was quoted as saying.