Komitee gegen den Vogelmord e.V. Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS)

Komitee gegen den Vogelmord e. V.
Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS)

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Derogations to hunt birds in the European Union

Hawfinch - protected EU-wide, but allowed to be shot in Italy
Hawfinch - protected EU-wide, but allowed to be shot in Italy

According to the EU Birds Directive, the EU Member States may allow 82 bird species to be hunted. All other species are generally protected, and the use of traps and nets is generally prohibited. The EU Birds Directive allows exemptions to the regulations if an authority deems it necessary to "preserve tradition" or to avoid damage to agriculture. Permission can only be granted if there is "no other satisfactory solution" and if only "small numbers" of birds are affected. 

This regulation unfortunately opens the door to the undermining of the EU Birds Directive. It is neither defined what a 'tradition' is, nor what a 'small quantity' is. The question of "another satisfactory solution" is also readily interpreted by pro-hunting politicians and authorities in the interests of hunters and bird trappers. 

A good example is the approval of different types of traps in France. The argument: it is a tradition and for bird trappers who like to catch birds, there is no other satisfactory solution than to use the traditional methods. An example of the refusal of such a derogation can be found in Italy, where the catching of thrushes with nets (for use as live decoys for hunting) has been banned after a campaign by CABS. The argument: thrushes can be captive bred, so there is another satisfactory solution. 

CABS campaign very specifically against such exemptions. Initially, it is always regarding regional or national legislation, which we - if possible - take to court or bring down with political lobbying. At the same time, however, such decisions always have an impact on the entire EU. Depending on how brazenly the exemptions violate international law, they jeopardise the entire EU Birds Directive. For example, our successes against the exemptions for hunting finches in Italy have had a direct impact on finch trapping in Malta. Because if you are not allowed to shoot finches in Italy because you can breed them, you are not allowed to trap them with nets on Malta either. The same applies to limesticks in eastern Spain, which we worked against for a long time. Their ban in 2010 has brought forward the ban of limesticks in France in 2021.