The French government has approved the legal trapping and hunting of more than 150,000 wild birds in France this season  a total higher than last year's permitted catches.

The figures, published on 5 September, legalise the use of various trapping methods, some of which are widely considered inhumane and invariably inflict pain and suffering on the trapped birds.

The approved licences include the use of gluesticks (or limesticks) to ensnare 42,500 thrushes, and the employment of pantes (large horizontal nets) or matoles (small hanging cages) to catch an extraordinary 106,500 Eurasian Skylarks.  Additionally, 5,800 thrushes, 1,200 Northern Lapwings and 30 European Golden Plovers may be captured by nets or snares in the Ardennes region.

Blackcap photo credit (Committee Against Bird Slaughter)

Limestick used to ensnare a female blackcap (Photo credit - Committee Against Bird Slaughter)

At a time when biodiversity is collapsing in the France countryside (for example, Eurasian Skylark has declined by 30 per cent across the country in 15 years), these decisions seem particularly appalling and confirm again the greater influence of hunters on French government policy than a large majority of French citizens, who had expressed their indignation during the public consultations held prior to the publication of the decrees.

Nonetheless, Minister of the Ecological and Solidary Transition, Élisabeth Borne, has approved the decrees and allowed mass hunting to go on. 

Remarkably, these developments come just weeks after the European Commission warned France for failing to meet its obligations to protect endangered species on 25 July, targeting, in particular, the country's undifferentiated trapping under the pretext of tradition.

Allain Bougrain Dubourg, President of the LPO, commented: "Emmanuel Macron keeps announcing a change. We have certainly seen changes in ecology ministers  three in two years  but we are still waiting for a change of policy in favour of biodiversity. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of birds continue to be stuck, strangled and imprisoned in France with the complicity of the state."

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