Glue trap hunting method upheld in French court

Glue trap hunters usually aim to collect thrush birds and blackbirds, but opponents say the method is not selective

Bird hunters in France have been given permission to continue using the traditional method of “glue trap hunting”, after the French Conseil d’Etat rejected a demand for its ban.

The French supreme court rejected the demand from bird protection group la Ligue de Protection des Oiseaux (LPO) that the technique be banned.

It said that fixed and seasonal quotas for bird hunting should be maintained instead, with hunters not permitted to exceed that level.

As a result, hunters may continue to use the method legally - up to the quota amounts - in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, the Alpes-Maritimes, Bouches-du-Rhône, Var and Vaucluse.

Glue trap hunting (“la chasse à la glu”) is a technique that allows hunters to trap birds as they land on tree branches. It is not intended to kill the birds, but to enable them to be gathered, cleaned, and sold as pets to live in a birdcage or aviary.

Hunters usually aim to collect thrushes and blackbirds.

Yet, the LPO claims that the technique is an “abuse of power” that can often kill or injure the birds, and that it is “non-selective”, meaning that other types of birds, animals and insects can become stuck and hurt in the process.

In his statement to the Conseil d’Etat, Yves Vérilhac, LPO director general, said: “Birds are fragile. Manipulating them to get glue off, cleaning them with F4 spirit - it has consequences. We have several examples of protected species being killed.

“We have found blue tits, warblers, and recently a kestrel - all stuck. Clearly, this practice is not selective. We cannot just do anything we like, under the pretext of ‘tradition’.

“Biodiversity is in freefall: 30% fewer birds in our fields. Playing around with gluing birds is outdated. In five years, glue trap hunting will be gone.”

But this is rejected by hunters, including traditional thrush hunting group l'Association de Défense des Chasses Traditionnelles à la Grive (ANDCTG).

In a statement, ANDCTG president Eric Camoin, said: “This is a victory against lies and ideology. [Opponents] will not stop saying that glue trap hunting is not selective, that the birds are damaged and mistreated: that is completely untrue.

“The birds are caught, cleaned, and go on to live a very long time in an aviary. If we want singing birds, [the technique] must be maintained. These lies and jokes [by the LPO] must stop now.”

Yet, the LPO has already announced plans to take the case to the European Court of Justice, and fight France for the right to end the method.

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