Natural fawn killer: US judge sentences poacher to “Bambi” viewings

This undated photo provided by in Lawerence County Sheriff in Mt. Vernon, Mo., shows David Berry Jr. (AP)
Updated 18 December 2018

Natural fawn killer: US judge sentences poacher to “Bambi” viewings

  • The Walt Disney Company bewitched generations of children with its pioneering animated film, released in August 1942, about a wide-eyed young deer and his doting mom

CHICAGO: A judge in the US state of Missouri has sentenced a prolific poacher to repeat screenings of “Bambi,” the Walt Disney classic weepy about a fawn whose mother is slain by a hunter.
David Berry Jr will be forced to see the animated movie at least once a month during his year-long jail term, the result of what law enforcement officials described as one of their “largest-ever poaching investigations.”
Berry and two family members were arrested on charges of killing hundreds of deer over three years, according to the Missouri Conservation Authority, which announced the sentence in a December 13 statement.
“The deer were trophy bucks taken illegally, mostly at night, for their heads, leaving the bodies of the deer to waste,” said prosecutor Don Trotter of Lawrence County, Missouri.
Berry had already seen his hunting privileges revoked for past wildlife infractions and was on probation.
The Walt Disney Company bewitched generations of children with its pioneering animated film, released in August 1942, about a wide-eyed young deer and his doting mom.
But the shocking image of young Bambi curled up next to the doe after she is slain by hunters has become as iconic as any scene in cinema history, credited with opening up taboo conversations about death and helping youngsters cope with bereavement.
“Bambi” often leads lists of the saddest moments in cinema, and even moved Time magazine to include the movie among its top 25 horror movies of all time, alongside “Frankenstein,” “The Exorcist” and “Night of the Living Dead.”
Judge Robert George sent Berry to jail for one year and ordered the film viewings to be conducted by the sheriff of the Lawrence County Jail.
Fourteen people have been ensnared in a multi-year investigation of illegal hunting spanning Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and Canada.


Tulips from Amsterdam? A blooming scam, says new probe

This file photo taken on March 6, 2003 shows bulbs at the flower market in Amsterdam. (AFP)
Updated 16 October 2019

Tulips from Amsterdam? A blooming scam, says new probe

  • Tulip bulbs should only be sold between August to December and planted before the start of the (northern hemisphere) winter, in order for the flowers to bloom in spring

THE HAGUE: Tourists are being ripped off at Amsterdam’s famous flower market, with just one percent of all bulbs sold at the floating bazaar ever producing a blossom, investigators said Tuesday.
A probe commissioned by the Dutch capital’s municipality and tulip growers also found that often only one flower resembled the pictures on the packaging like color, and that there were fewer bulbs than advertised.
“The probe showed that there is chronic deception of consumers,” at the sale of tulip bulbs at the flower market, the Royal General Bulb Growers’ Association (KAVB) said.
“Millions of tourists and day-trippers are being duped,” KAVB chairman Rene le Clercq said in a statement.
Amsterdam and the KAVB have now referred the matter to the Dutch consumer watchdog.
The Amsterdam flower market is one of the city’s most famous landmarks and dates from around 1862, when flower sellers sailed their barges up the Amstel River and moored them in the “Singel” to sell their goods.
Its fame inspired the popular song “Tulips from Amsterdam,” best known for a 1958 version by British entertainer Max Bygraves.
Today the market comprises of a number of fixed barges with little greenhouses on top. Vendors not only sell tulip bulbs but also narcissus, snowdrops, carnations, violets, peonies and orchids.
But of 1,363 bulbs bought from the Singel and then planted, just 14 actually bloomed, the investigation said.
Investigators found a similar problem along the so-called “flower bulb boulevard” in Lisse, a bulb-field town south of Amsterdam where the famous Keukenhof gardens are also situated.
Since first imported from the Ottoman Empire 400 years ago, tulips “have become our national symbol and the bulb industry a main player in the Dutch economy,” said Le Clercq.
But the “deception about the tulip bulbs is a problem that has been existing for the past 20 years,” he added.

The victims are often tourists, KAVB director Andre Hoogendijk said.
“A tourist who buys a bad bulb is not likely to come back,” he told Amsterdam’s local AT5 news channel.
Vendors at the market told AT5 that complaints were known.
“There are indeed stalls here that sell rubbish. That is to everyone’s disadvantage, because it portrays the whole flower market in a bad light,” one unidentified vendor said.
But a spokesperson for the City of Amsterdam said that all vendors were being investigated “and that the results are shocking.”
“So to say that it is only a few stalls is not true,” the spokesperson told AFP in an email.
The probe took place earlier in the year during springtime, the spokesperson said.
“The issue is that you shouldn’t even sell tulip bulbs during the spring. No decent florist shop in Holland does that.”
Tulip bulbs should only be sold between August to December and planted before the start of the (northern hemisphere) winter, in order for the flowers to bloom in spring.