Italian judges rescue millions of birds
Regional governments forced to backtrack
In the 1980s, the Italian government committed itself to considerably better protection for migrating birds in the context of several international agreements (EU Bird Protection Guidelines, Berne Convention etc.). In 1992 the parliament in Rome passed a relatively forward-looking new hunting law, which banned bird trapping and, with the exception of Skylarks, Blackbirds, Song Thrushes, Fieldfares and Redwings, provided complete protection for all song birds.
Some regions attempt to circumvent the new legislation by issuing their own special seasonal regulations. With the financial support of CABS, Italian nature conservation organisations challenge these regulations in the courts.
The Lombardy regional government in Northern Italy annually permits the hunting of up to 5 million Starlings, House and Italian Sparrows, Chaffinches and Bramblings although these are protected by national law.
A firm of lawyers appointed by CABS regularly seek an immediate injunction in the courts against these local seasonal regulations a few days after they come into force. In 2009, as in previous years, we were able to persuade the court to revoke the permission for the shooting of Chaffinches, Bramblings, Starlings and Sparrows.
The annual repeated attempts to have permission granted for the erection of mass net installations - roccoli - to trap decoy birds for use in hunting from camouflaged hides has also, thanks to our court appeals, failed on many occasions.