Date(s) - 10 Oct 2012
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Category(ies) No Categories
Location: Building 21, Lecture Theatre S8
Abstract: The nests of the Edible-nest Swiftlet (Aerodramus fuciphagus), constructed entirely of hardened saliva, have long been a highly prized delicacy in China, and are reputed to have a number of beneficial medicinal properties. Swiftlet nests are among the most expensive animal products consumed by humans, sometimes referred to as ‘the caviar of the East’. Recently, the trade in edible birds’ nests has expanded rapidly, to meet the demands of an increasingly prosperous consumer society in China. Investors erect special buildings with interiors created to resemble the limestone caves naturally inhabited by the swiftlets, transforming the skyline and ambience of towns across Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and especially Indonesia, source of around 80 per cent of the global supply. Focussing mainly on Indonesia, Craig’s talk presents a history and overview of the birds’ nest trade, before considering some of the public health and nuisance aspects of its recent explosive growth.