Many thousands of animals have died a painful death due to illegal, deliberate poisoning in Hungary. The reported cases represent only a fraction of all such crimes. The Criminal Code (Büntető törvénykönyv, Btk. in Hungary) allows imprisonment from one to five years in such cases. However, the most severe punishment so far has been a suspended prison sentence and a fine.
No murderer gets their due punishment in Hungary
More often than not, those who deliberately poison birds of prey in Hungary do not get their due punishment. In mid-April, the staff of the Kiskunság National Park Directorate (Kiskunsági Nemzeti Park Igazgatóság, KNPI) found the carcasses of ten protected birds (common buzzards and Western marsh harriers). The cause of their death was poison in chicken meat. The damage to nature is incalculable, 24.hu writes.
All such and similar acts are criminal offences under the law if the damage to nature conservation exceeds HUF 200,000 (EUR 528.50). According to ornithologist Zoltán Orbán, spokesman of the Hungarian Ornithological and Nature Conservation Society (Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület, MME), since 2005, there have been 2,482 cases of poisoning of birds and mammals, including 288 eagles under special protection: 128 Imperial Eagles, 156 White-tailed Eagles, 3 Golden Eagles and 1 Lesser spotted Eagle. The conservation damage is approaching HUF half a billion (EUR 1.34 million).
This is just the tip of the iceberg
Even though the MME and KNPI both use poison and cadaver dog units, the above figures are still just the tip of the iceberg, 24.hu reminds us. How many there may be in reality, we cannot even estimate. And if we add to this the deaths of unprotected birds and mammals, from magpies to foxes, dogs and cats, we are talking about many thousands more animals who have died in agony.
The HUF billions in conservation damage is only indicative. For example, the conservation value of an eagle is HUF one million (EUR 2689). Provided that someone kills two birds, they are caught, convicted and ordered to pay HUF two million. Still, the two birds are no more, they no longer breed and the species is one step closer to extinction.