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Success in Rome – new hunting law passed

Lombardy and Veneto dispense with finch hunting

CABS video shown in Italian Parliament

Shot ChaffinchShot ChaffinchAfter year-long protest by the Committee Against Bird Slaughter, consistent bringing of court cases against hunting of finches and pipits protected by EU legislation and our 2011 environmental complaint to the European Commission, the Italian Government has accepted the consequences and altered hunting legislation.

After months of wrestling with the problem, and enormous pressure from the European Commission, on 31 July 2013 the parliament in Rome passed new hunting legislation containing changes proposed by CABS ant its Italian partner organisations. These consist of the introduction of a number of legal hurdles that will in future make large scale shooting permissions of EU-wide protected bird species practically impossible.

The two most important amendments are:

  • Exceptional hunting permissions must in future follow the course of normal statutory instruments – not as special legislation rushed through without proper review and consultation. Now we can again go to court as necessary - in Italy one can take legal action against the former but not the latter.
  • Exceptional hunting permissions must be declared at the latest three months before the start of the hunting season. Until now these special permissions were only announced a day before the season began, giving us hardly any time to take the provincial government to court. Now we are in a position to take legal action well before the first shot can be fired.

Hawfinch used as live hunting decoyHawfinch used as live hunting decoyBefore a vote on the law was taken, the video taken in autumn 2011 in the Southern Alps, recording the mass slaughter of protected bird species, was screened for members of the Italian parliament. The location an alpine pass in Lombardy that is particularly important to bird migration.

Quite apart from the successful passage of the new law, the Lombardy and Veneto Regions - known to be particularly hunter-friendly in the past – want to again permit hunting of Chaffinch, Brambling and Tree and Meadow Pipits this coming autumn. The provincial government in Venice has even asked the Commission on Brussels how they can go about this without being penalised! The EC has rejected out of hand any question of hunting of EU- wide protected species and has threatened sanctions if hunting is permitted. At the beginning of August both regions have thrown in the towel and have announced that the hunting of finches and pipits will not be permitted this autumn.

It can be expected that the hunting lobby in Rome, Milan and Venice will continue to attempt to find a way to ‘legalise’ hunting of the coveted finches and pipits. They will not achieve this in 2013 - for the second consecutive year – as we also managed to prevent hunting in 2012, The new law, and the strong headwind blowing from Brussels, will in any event make it difficult for the regions to permits such hunting in future.

Since the exceptions to EU legislation were first implemented in 1994, the Committee Against Bird Slaughter has invested some 95.000 € on court cases to prevent the illegal killing of finches and pipits in Northern Italy. If the new laws stand the test of time this will be money well spent. If you want to support us - in this as in our other international bird and wildlife protection operations - we are always glad of a donation, however small.