Traditional hunts: ignoring the Council of State, the government wishes to reauthorize them

Traditional hunts: ignoring the Council of State, the government wishes to reauthorize them

The government has put several draft decrees relating to traditional bird hunting for consultation, yet rejected in 2021 by the Council of State and at the risk of contravening European law.

The texts, open for consultation from July 21 to August 10, relate to “the capture of lapwings and golden plovers using nets” in the Ardennes, “the capture of the skylark using pantes ” (nets) in Gironde, Landes, Lot-et-Garonne and Pyrénées-Atlantiques, as well as the capture of skylarks using matoles (cages) in Landes and Lot-et- Garonne.

The draft decrees would allow the capture of more than 100,000 birds of these different species.

It is however specified that “the decision to publish these draft texts will take into account the judgment on the merits of the Council of State on the ongoing litigation concerning the decree relating to the quotas for harvesting by this method of hunting for the 2021 season/ 2022”.

In October 2021, the judge in chambers of the Council of State, seized urgently by the defenders of nature, had suspended government decrees authorizing traditional bird hunts.

After a first cancellation in August 2021 by the highest administrative court in the country of several hunting authorizations (thrushes, blackbirds, lapwings, golden plovers, skylarks with nets or cages), the judge considered that the government had taken these new decrees on the same basis, risking contravening European law, and that there was thus “a serious doubt as to their legality”.

The European “birds” directive of 2009 prohibits techniques for the mass capture of birds without distinction of species. A derogation is possible “provided that it is duly motivated and provided + that there is no other satisfactory solution + to capture certain birds”.

The Ministry of Ecological Transition promises in the draft decrees “the follow-up of training for practitioners in order to train them in the mandatory rules for practicing this traditional hunt in compliance with European Union law”, “the realization of controls”, “a device for listing the catches made” or even “obligations to avoid any animal suffering”.

“The second ecological five-year term promised by Emmanuel Macron will not have lasted long,” reacted Allain Bougrain Dubourg, president of the League for the Protection of Birds (LPO), as bird populations in the fields are collapsing in France.

“If the decrees are signed, the LPO will attack them immediately before the Council of State,” he warned in a press release.

Since his first five-year term, President Emmanuel Macron has taken several decisions in favor of hunters, an electorate whose favor he wants to curry favor with.

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