Bird welfare group files complaint against France

Bird welfare group La Ligue de Protection des Oiseaux is calling on France to remember its obligations towards birds, 40 years after a European Commission (EC) directive on the issue was first imposed.

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The Ligue (LPO) this week announced that it would file an official complaint against France in the European Commission, to call it out for - it said - lack of respect of the original EC “bird directive”, which requires member states to protect certain species.

The complaint will coincide with the 40th anniversary of the directive.

LPO president Alain Bougrain-Dubourg said that the State has continually failed to follow through on its attempts - supported by the LPO - to protect certain species.

He said: “Every time, the State lapses back. A convicted citizen would see their sentence increased with each re-offence, but the State does not. It continues every year. There will now be a judgement, and France will be forced to make it happen.”

The LPO’s request is mainly focused on three types of hunting, which it deems to be especially damaging.

Firstly, it is targeting the “hunting of birds in a poor state of conservation”. In France, the LPO says, hunters target an average of 68 species, compared to an average of 20-30 in other European countries.

The LPO said: “Of this 68 species, around 20 are on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) ‘red list’, in an extremely worrying - nay painful - state.”

The welfare group is also seeking a ban on “glue hunting” in France.

Glue hunting is the practice of capturing birds without killing them, by painting branches with special glue, which sticks the birds on to the trees as they land, so that hunters can pick them up and put them in cages later.

Mr Bougrain-Dubourg said: “This concerns five departments in the south of France. This practice [glue hunting] has been outlawed in Malta, Spain, and Italy.”

The LPO is also asking the EC to focus on the hunting of migratory birds.

It said that the group had exhausted all internal channels [in France] that allow it to force the country to respect European rules.

Mr Bougrain-Dubourg said: “We have been before [French advisory council] Le Conseil d’Etat 12 times to try to stop the country from prolonging hunting to the month of February.

“It is sad, on the 40th anniversary of the directive, to have to act against your own country.”

He said: “[France should] show the way on biodiversity. We must behave properly at home, and that will provide lessons to others.”

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