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  • A European Goldfinch in Tarn, France.

    A European Goldfinch in Tarn, France. | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Published 3 April 2019

LPO spokeswoman Kim Dallet says the organization hopes that the French government will finally respond once the complaints are taken up to the EU.

Wildlife advocates are set to present France with an official complaint regarding breached regulations on hunting, trapping and conservation of endangered birds. The complaint will be filed with the European Union (EU).

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In commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the European Commission's Guide to Sustainable Hunting Under the Birds Directive, the Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux (LPO) is using the opportunity to bring awareness to inhumane hunting practices in the country.

The methods include nooses and traps that crush the birds with boulders when triggered.

Some methods had been banned previously, such as the stone traps. The traps were legalized again in France although the cruelty of the method is acknowledged since the birds are not killed instantly by impact and are forced to suffer.

Another violation that has been ignored by the government is the discounting of legal hunting periods and species quotas, despite several species considered "fair game" for hunters such as wood pigeons, skylarks, grey geese, and curlew. While these species have seen declining populations, regulations remain lenient.


"By allowing glue traps, the extension of the geese hunting period until Febuary and the hunting of endangered species, France is not adhering to the obligations to protect wildlife in light of the Birds Directive. The LPO has complained to the @EU_Commission."

 

Because of the complacency exhibited by the French government to the LPO's several complaints, the organization says it was forced to take action. LPO spokeswoman Kim Dallet says the organization hopes that the French government will finally respond once the complaints are taken up to the EU.

The LPO official points out the potential cultural context for France's lack of response, saying, “I don’t know what it is about hunting in France, perhaps because we have more of a hunting tradition. But the situation has to evolve,” pointing out that, compared to the 20-30 species the rest of Europe is allowed to hunt, France maintains about 63 different species.

Even though France already has much more flexibility on legal hunting species, hunters are still asking for even more leeway. They are also asking for administrative reforms to make obtaining hunting licenses easier.

President Emmanuel Macron himself indulges in the recreational activity, telling the hunting lobby that “hunting is a wonderful advantage for biodiversity, development of our rural territory and a popular activity to safeguard,” despite the LPO's expressed frustrations.

France's hunting community is made up of about 1.2 million licensed hunters, with almost 40,000 new licenses obtained annually.

Aside from hunting, France's "massive use of pesticides" on farmland has caused a population decrease of about one third in rural areas in the last 15 years.


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