France bans bird hunting technique, 41 years after EU ban

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The suspension, pronounced Thursday by President Emmanuel Macron, affects a minority of French hunters and only applies to the coming hunting season, pending a final decision from the European Court of Justice. And most of the locals frown on the hunt, deeming it cruel and outdated.

But the hunters’ lobby is a powerful political force in France. There are around 1.5 million registered hunters in the country, and they can form an influential electoral bloc in rural areas. Mr. Macron has made efforts to garner their support since his election in 2017, including halving the price of national hunting licenses, to 200 euros (around $ 240). About 5,000 hunters use glue traps to hunt birds, according to the French National Federation of Hunters.

Willy Schraen, the head of the hunters’ federation, called the suspension “unacceptable”.

“Let’s leave people alone,” he said in a television interview Thursday. “Why is it a problem to occupy Europe and our minister?” he added, referring to Ms Pompili.

The hunting technique, known as glue-covered bird traps, is used to catch songbirds like thrushes and blackbirds. Environmentalists say this is not only cruel to trapped songbirds, but also threatens endangered species because the traps catch many types of birds.

The European Union decided to ban glue traps in a 1979 measure that banned ‘non-selective’ hunting, but France then created a workaround by regulating how mistakenly caught birds could be released .

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