Friday 06 August 2021 | 3

A historic victory! No more nets, cages or hanging - the end of traditional methods of trapping songbirds!


Mis à jour le 16 August 2021

This is a great victory for songbirds killed by hanging, or trapped in small cages or hunters’ nets! Our lawyer stood alone against the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Fédération des Chasseurs at the Council of State (Conseil d’État, the highest administrative law court in France) on 8 July when the reporting judge announced: ‘Cancellation [of the decree] is inevitable.’ And the Council of State has now confirmed the judge’s findings.

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Birds cruelly targeted in the Ardennes and South West France

In 24 applications at first instance (19 brought by us and five by the Ligue de Protection des Oiseaux) the Fédération Nationale des Chasseurs and the Ministry for the Ecological Transition, singing from the same hymn sheet, rejected all our claims.

One Voice was attacking every Ministerial decree issued since 2018 permitting traditional methods of killing songbirds. We were fighting tooth and nail to protect skylarks, lapwings, golden plovers, blackbirds and thrushes, in the departments of Ardennes, Gironde, Landes, Lot-et Garonne, Pyrénées-Atlantiques and Tarn-et-Garonne.

We also applied to the courts to simply revoke the decree of 1989 permitting these methods. The decision of the Council of State represents implicit acceptance of our case.

From 2018 on, the Council of State refused to save the birds

The Council of State did not want to listen in 2018, 2019 or 2020, when we systematically brought urgent applications for the suspension of dozens of annual decrees permitting horizontal nets (pantes), small cages (matoles) and hanging (tenderies). The LPO got the same response when it applied for the suspension of the amending decree of 2018 and four decrees in 2020 in the South West.

A historic victory following on from success achieved against glue traps

This victory is the crowning achievement in a titanic struggle by our legal team. We could not just stand by after the announcement of the sixth mass extinction, with bird populations among the first victims. We won the battle against glue traps when our case led to a decision in our favour by the Court of Justice of the European Union on the ‘Birds’ Directive. And it was precisely this decision which was followed by the Council of State in finding for us on 6 August 2021 in our case against traditional methods of trapping birds.

Arielle Moreau, One Voice’s lawyer, said:

« Tradition is no longer a sufficient reason to permit attacks on biodiversity. We should welcome this new recognition by the courts and hope that the same will soon be true of other traditions causing suffering to animals. »

The figures are astronomic, whatever the hunters say

The annual number of individual birds destined to be trapped or killed under these cruel conditions is astronomic (see the lists below), not counting the numbers caught in the same way by mistake, as the traps are not selective. Non-selectivity was in fact one our angles of attack against these hunting methods at the Council of State.

In South West France, over 100,000 birds die in this way every year

Every year: 38,600 skylarks were caught in Gironde, 61,600 in Landes, 4,100 in Lot-et-Garonne, 2,200 in Pyrénées-Atlantiques. And the list goes on...

DECREE CHALLENGED PERIOD DEPARTMENT SPECIES NUMBER
Decree of 24 09 2018 2018-2019 Gironde skylarks 38600
Decree of 24 09 2018 2018-2019 Landes skylarks 61600
Decree of 24 09 2018 2018-2019 Lot-et-Garonne skylarks 4100
Decree of 24 09 2018 2018-2019 Pyrénées-Atlantiques skylarks 2200
Decree of 2.09.2019 2019-2020 Gironde skylarks 38600
Decree of 2.09.2019 2019-2020 Landes skylarks 61600
Decree of 2.09.2019 2019-2020 Lot-et-Garonne skylarks 4100
Decree of 2.09.2019 2019-2020 Pyrénées-Atlantiques skylarks 2200
Decree of 27 07 2020 2020-2021 Gironde skylarks 38600
Decree of 27 07 2020 2020-2021 Landes skylarks 61600
Decree of 27 07 2020 2020-2021 Lot-et-Garonne skylarks 4100
Decree of 27 07 2020 2020-2021 Pyrénées-Atlantiques skylarks 2200

The Ardennes, where birds are hung

In the Ardennes, 5,800 thrushes and blackbirds were ‘captured’ every year by hanging. In 2018, there was permission for 200 skylarks and ten golden plovers to suffer the same fate. A few months later, the quota was multiplied, to 1,200 and 30 respectively.

We were sickened by it. The fact that permission was given for over thirty years for tens of thousands of birds to be captured, killed and eaten year after year, and that it has only now been judged unlawful, leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. It had to be brought to a final end.

Just to denounce the horror was not enough. We needed to tackle the root of the problem, using the only effective lever, while continuing to raise awareness This is a great victory for birds. A historic victory.

DECREE CHALLENGED PERIOD DEPARTMENT SPECIES NUMBER
Decree of 24 09 2018 2018-2019 Ardennes lapwings and golden plovers 200 lapwings / 10 golden plovers
Decree of 2 11 18 amending decree of 24 09 18 2018-2019 Ardennes lapwings and golden plovers Change to quotas September 2018 1,200 lapwings / 30 golden plovers
Decree of 02 09 19 2019-2020 Ardennes lapwings and golden plovers 1,200 lapwings / 30 golden plovers
Decree of 27 07 2020 2020-2021 Ardennes lapwings and golden plovers 1,200 lapwings / 30 golden plovers
Decree of 24 09 2018 2018-2019 Ardennes thrushes and blackbirds 5800
Decree of 02 09 19 2019-2020 Ardennes thrushes and blackbirds 5800
Decree of 27 07 2020 2020-2021 Ardennes thrushes and blackbirds 5800

Muriel Arnal, founding president of One Voice:

« How could the Ministry for Ecology make these decrees year after year, devastating bird populations? We took cases as far as the ECJ in Luxembourg and the Council of State, with over ten urgent applications and as many cases on the merits every year. This victory has given us a real boost. No-one can hunt birds legally any more in France! If necessary, we will go back to the Council of State in September. »

If necessary, we will challenge new decrees as soon as they are promulgated. Public consultations are already under way on the website of the Ministry for the Ecological Transition, for Ardennes and departments in the South West. We might ask why Barbara Pompili talks of the prohibition of glue traps as progress for biodiversity, while she has nothing to say about these other forms of hunting, which are just as cruel and deadly. Contrary to what is claimed, behind the fine words there is no political will either to safeguard biodiversity or to abolish cruelty.

Translated from the French by Jo Durning

Julia Mothé
Hr blog

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Comments 3

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Nicole GIRARD | Saturday 07 August 2021

Bravo pour votre combat en faveur des oiseaux. Vous avez obtenu une magnifique victoire. Après une telle dépense d'énergie je suis de tout coeur avec votre équipe pour célébrer ce jour. Avant d'entamer d'autres combats pour le bien des animaux. Merci.

Medret | Saturday 07 August 2021

Bravo et merci pour votre engagement et votre courage. Je pense que la médiatisation des effets néfastes de ces pratiques est une arme efficace et peut être insuffisamment utilisée...

Titus | Friday 06 August 2021

Enfin la sauvegarde de la biodiversité et la protection de l'animal devant la cruauté humaine un pas seulement merci pour les animaux