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French President Macron wants to allow trapping of 110,000+ wild birds

Terrible news for wild birds in France: President Emmanuel Macron has just re-authorised horrific bird trapping practices which only have their place in history books. BirdLife’s French Partner, LPO, reports.

By BirdLife Europe and Central Asia

Unbelievable but true: French President Emmanuel Macron is endorsing bird poaching! The day after the World Conservation Union’s World Congress in Marseille, where he declared his determination to raise the stakes of biodiversity protection to the level of the battle against climate change, and on the eve of his presidency of the European Union, the French President is preparing to authorise the trapping of more than 110,000 wild birds, even though the French Council of State and the European Court of Justice have recently declared this practice illegal. 

The draft ministerial orders aim to authorise the trapping of: 

  • 106,500 Eurasian Skylarks (Alauda arvensis) with horizontal nets and drop cages in four départements of the South-West of France (Landes, Gironde, Lot-et-Garonne and Pyrénées-Atlantiques), even though this species is in continuous decline in France and in Europe (there has been a 35% drop in its breeding numbers in the past 15 years in France); 
  • 1200 Northern Lapwings (Vanellus vanellus) (a near-threatened species in France), 30 Eurasian Golden Plovers (Pluvialis apricaria), 5800 Song Thrushes (Turdus philomelos) and Eurasian Blackbirds (Turdus merula) using flap nets or slipknots (also known as the “Ardennes tenderie”).  From today until 6 October, LPO encourages the French people to take part in the online public consultations of the Ministry of Ecological Transition in order to oppose these draft decrees. 
  • Public consultation on the draft orders relating to the capture of 98,702 Eurasian Skylarks by means of pikes in the Landes, Gironde, Lot-et-Garonne and Pyrénées-Atlantiques
  • Public consultation on the draft orders relating to the capture of 7798 Eurasian Skylarks with matoles in Landes and Lot-et-Garonne 
  • Public consultation on the draft order on the capture of 1200 Northern Lapwings and 30 Eurasian Golden Plovers with nets in the Ardennes 
  • Public consultation on the draft decree on the capture of 5800 Song Thrushes and Eurasian Blackbirds in the Ardennes 

Image credit: Eurasian Skylark (Alauda arvensis). Photo by Bob Brewer

Read the original version of the article in French on the LPO’s website.

On 6 August 2021, following appeals by LPO, the French Council of State ruled that so-called “traditional” practices of trapping wild birds through derogations   under the EU’s Birds Directive are illegal. This followed the historical decision of the French Council of State, which had confirmed on 28 June 2021, after consultation with the Court of Justice of the European Union, the illegality of hunting with lime sticks in five départements of the PACA region.  

The ruling caused an outrage among several members of the French Parliament who spoke out in support of “traditional” hunting and publicly called on the government to issue new decrees so that hunters could continue to trap.  The new decrees being prepared are illegal. BirdLife Europe supports LPOs demands for their immediate suspension before the Council of State if they are ever signed. 

Allain Bougrain Dubourg, President of the LPO, said:

“I am scandalised by the cynicism and clientelism of the President of the Republic, which raise questions about his real convictions. While the global scientific community is warning us about the risk of mass extinction of wild species, our government is reducing biodiversity to an electoral bargaining chip. Hunting outside the legal framework is poaching. And what makes this all the more appalling is that this is only a leisure activity.” 

Allain Bougrain Dubourg, President of the LPO

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