Huge numbers of dead Blackcaps are being illegally sold as food items in Lebanon's only international airport, Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) has sensationally revealed.

CABS members returning from an autumn bird protection camp in Lebanon were stunned to find packaged 'sets' of plucked Blackcaps residing in a freezer in a retail store in the duty-free section of Beirut-Rafic Hariri International Airport.

The freezer was located in a section of a store entitled 'Goodies'. The birds in the packets are readily identified as Blackcaps, for the unplucked heads clearly show the tell-tale grey faces with the black cap of the males and chestnut cap of the females.

The birds are being sold in packs of 30 and, as the video footage shows, a minimum of 18 different packs can be counted – meaning at least 540 individual birds are to be found in this freezer alone.

Remarkably, the packaging even proudly states 'Lebanese origin', making no attempt to hide the illegality surrounding the obtainment of songbirds from the wild. Each packet retails for US $36, illustrating how this outlawed practice is such a lucrative business for the criminals involved in the trade.

Lebanon is one of the worst offenders for bird persecution within the Middle East, with ongoing issues with large-scale illegal hunting. The nation is currently the subject of ongoing conservation efforts from organisations such as CABS, as well as the Ornithological Society of the Middle East (OSME) and others.

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