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PRESS RELEASE 03.03.2013

Our migrant birds die here!!

Shocking video shows the nightly mass trapping of song birds in Spain

A Song Thrush trapped in a ‘parany‘ installation in ValenciaA Song Thrush trapped in a ‘parany‘ installation in ValenciaBonn/Valencia.Conservationists have today published original video material showing for the first time how brutally the Spanish trappers operate, and how countless migrating birds are trapped and killed using modern electronic lures and limesticks. According to the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) some 1.2 million song birds, including numerous endangered species, are killed every year in this way.

The crime scene of these nightly massacres is the so-called ‘paranys’. These are specially cultivated and trimmed trapping gardens that dominate the landscape between Valencia and Tarragona. Each tree is spiked with hundreds of small limesticks that stick to the birds’ plumage at the slightest touch and so cause them to fall helpless and flightless to the ground. They then land in a tunnels where the trapper ‘harvests’ them – usually after a long and painful struggle – by strangulation

Paranys in Valencia – limesticks are placed in the high, specially pruned branchesParanys in Valencia – limesticks are placed in the high, specially pruned branchesFor the first time ever CABS volunteers have managed to film the massacre with low-light cameras. “The material demonstrates that thousands of wild birds are cruelly killed and that numerous protected and endangered species are among the victims” states CABS President Heinz Schwarze. The video shows Thrushes and Blackcaps loudly and in panic fighting for their lives among the corpses of the conspecifics.

In addition the film shows that, despite a clear ban on such practices, the Spanish authorities take no action against these installations, although these are highly visible and are operated openly by their owners. Schwarze continues “We have informed the police time and again but no one accepts responsibility”. CABS accuses the local government of active complicity in that they tolerate the operation of the installations, hinder the responsible game wardens in their monitoring work and protect the trappers from prosecution. The game wardens are forbidden to work at night – when the installations are active – which rules out any effective form of control. Even when the wardens manage to take a case to court the offenders are let off with no sanctions. Only last week a trappers was found not guilty by a court in Vignaros because the commonly used bird lime he also used Il Tordo - was allegedly not capable of trapping protected species!

CABS has announced that it intends to file an official complaint against Spain with the European Commission because of the toleration of mass, non-selective trapping and killing of protected bird species. In order to put pressure on the Spanish authorities, and to urge the authorities to finally take effective action against this breach of European legislation, CABS has started an international protest action.

A prepared email mail text in Spanish (with English translation) and addressed to Valencia’s Environment Minister Isabel Bonig Trigueros is available at send protestmail

The CABS Parany video with English commentary can be seen here »»