Monday 17 October 2022 | 12

Traditional hunting of larks at the State Council, and for grey partridges and wood pigeons in Toulouse: four ministerial decrees and three prefectural decrees under scrutiny


Mis à jour le 27 December 2022

Our team and our lawyers will be rallying in great numbers on 20 October to defend the cause for birds, at the same time as the LPO, at the Paris State Council. The suspension of the ministerial decrees on traditional hunting of larks will be discussed and disputed there! And at the same time at the Haute-Garonne Administrative Tribunal in Toulouse, where the fate of grey partridges and wood pigeons will be in the hands of administrative justice.

Hr blog

Edit from 23 October

The ‘traditional hunting’ decrees targeting field larks have been suspended by the State Council. The Haute-Garonne and Ariège Prefects’ decrees targeting grey partridges and wood pigeons have not been suspended, unfortunately for these birds.

Lawyers from Maitre Gossement and Maitre Thouy’s offices will defend grey partridges and wood pigeons respectively in the South-West; Maitre Lyon-Caen will meanwhile be at the State Council to put forward our fight for field larks and other birds trapped in folding nets and hanging cages.

Despite a particularly devastating summer, the State goes again for traditional bird hunting

It is 2022... After the summer that we have had and the lasting difficulties that birds met due to urbanisation and intensive agriculture, we are awaiting something else from the Ministry of Ecology and the prefectures. The first is persisting in issuing new decrees to keep traditional hunting, against the repeated opinions of the State Council and the European Union Court of Justice and contradicting their own statements. And in Toulouse, the Prefecture is acting as a registration centre for hunters’ wishes, against the protections implemented for birds and also against the European Directive named ‘Birds’.

Wood pigeons hunted in Haute-Garonne... by force of habit?

We are attacking the decrees of 31 August and 8 September 2022, which approve the management hunting plan authorising the hunting of wood pigeons from 1 October to 30 November from 2022 to 2026 and thus provides for the opening periods and places of the latter with an emergency interim suspension. Apart from the defects in the style, the decree is empty of content. Yet the protected status of wood pigeons in different laws stipulates a justification for a multitude of elements to authorise them being hunted. The management plan approved by the decree does none of that and is happy to show that wood pigeon hunting can carry on due to a tradition which exists in the region. In other words: the existence of this hunting justifies it continuing. Absurd. We believe that it is urgent to get this decree suspended because the wood pigeon hunting season is already open and each life lost represents a violation of the species.

Hunters (badly) defending their interests is one thing, but what is worse is that the Haute-Garonne Prefect has approved this management plan by substituting his appraisal with theirs.

Two or four grey partridges per hunter in Ariège and in Haute-Garonne respectively... with no limit?

We have also attacked the prefectural decrees of 1 October authorising a fixed quota of two partridges per day per hunter in Ariège and the one of 22 September 2022 for four partridges per hunter in Haute-Garonne with an emergency interim suspension. The two decrees having been issued barely a few days after the start of them being applied. But grey partridges are also protected by the Birds Directive. The prefectures cannot put a maximum limit on hunters or birds!

The species’ vulnerability and the absence of an exact understanding of their numbers coupled with the fact that hunting irreversibly affects the conservation status of the species gives proof of the urgency in suspending these decrees. It is exactly this argument that has allowed us to get the Pyrénées-Atlantiques Prefect’s decree suspended on 4 October by the Pau Administrative Tribunal.

A Ministry of Ecology persisting in slaughtering small birds... cruelly and with no selectivity!

As we have announced and like the LPO, we have referred the urgent suspension of the four ministerial decrees of 7 October 2022 allowing the capture and slaughter of field larks, protected birds, according to methods known as ‘traditional hunting’ in the South of France (Landes, Lot-et-Garonne, Gironde, and Pyrénées-Atlantiques), to the State Council. This represents more than 106,500 larks, which are added to those from other species trapped in nets or hanging cages, who by definition do not decide on which animals they trap.

The ministry has indicated that they will not issue another decree while the substantive decision has not been made in this latest case file... yet the hearing in question has just been set for 24 October for the cancellation of the already suspended 2021 decrees. It should be noted that these commitments have not been respected.

We are asking for an urgent suspension of these disgraceful decrees. The Birds Directive is once more being trampled by the French State. The criteria clearly put forward by the European Union Court of Justice and which have allowed the State Council to give their decision to cancel the 2018 to 2020 decrees on 6 August 2021 and to suspend the 2021 ones are not always taken into account. Traditional hunting is in addition to hunting ‘with guns’ and does not replace it. There are no longer additional checks. In short, the authorisation of these hunts is therefore not in “the interests of birds”. But who doubted it? What kind of hunting could be?

Translated from the French by Joely Justice

Julia Mothé
Hr blog

In the subject

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Comments 12

I accept that publication of my comments is subject to the code of conduct.

Jackie | Sunday 23 October 2022

Quand les pseudos "humains" cesseront-ils de massacrer par plaisir ?

Olivo | Thursday 20 October 2022

Ceux qui font perdurer la chasse pour tuer ces oiseaux, seront peut-être les premiers demain à dire que les oiseaux disparaissent.
Ces chasses devraient être considérées comme écocides.

Marieangerossi | Thursday 20 October 2022

Honte à l'État et à ceux qui organisent ce genre de choses. Qui plus est, à une époque où on se doit de protéger la nature, l'environnement...

Dejeu | Wednesday 19 October 2022

Quand se préoccupera t'on de l'insupportable souffrance des fourmis euthanasiées par des produits toxiques, des moustiques gazés sans vergogne, des frelons asiatiques dont la destruction des nids entraine de longues souffrances inhumaines...
Ce sont bien des animaux, dignes eux aussi de compassion !