Macron bans ‘illegal’ hunting of thrush and blackbirds

The President took the decision to ban birdlime (or "glue") hunting after meeting with hunting representatives and politicians. The ban is in place for one year.

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The president’s office announced the ban on birdlime (or "glue") hunting for thrush and blackbirds yesterday (August 27).

Macron took the decision after meeting with President of hunting organisation, la Fédération Nationale des Chasseurs, Willy Schraen, and minister for ecological transition, Barbara Pompili.

Hunting season for thrush and blackbirds is typically in autumn in France. The practice of birdlime hunting (chasse à la glu) involves spreading glue on a branch upon which a bird is likely to land and get caught. Birds captured in this way are then put in a cage so that their song attracts other birds for hunters.

This method of hunting is controversial and has technically been banned in Europe since 2009, under EU law.

Until now, France has been the only EU country which continued to allow the practice, in five departments in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region: Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Alpes-Maritimes, Bouches-du-Rhône, Var and Vaucluse.

Last year, the French limit set for birds to be hunted using birdlime was 42,000.

EU urges France to stop using hunting method

On July 2 the European Commission urged France to end “illegal hunting and to re-examine methods for capturing birds”. As well as birdlime hunting, they also cited continued French use of nets for catching skylarks.

This came after France’s Conseil d'État appealed to the European Court of Justice to see if birdlime hunting could still be allowed, under EU law, for certain species of wild bird at the end of 2019. It is yet to receive a response.

The move to ban birdlime hunting this year is supported not only by the European Commission, but also ecologists and French minister for ecological transition, Barbara Pompili, who has spoken out against the practice.

Hunters are now concerned the ban will be extended beyond this year. However, a protest against the plan near to Fort de Brégançon (where the President spends his holidays) was eventually cancelled.

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