Trade in live decoys
For the camouflage hunting hides in northern Italy, the use of live decoys is considered to be essential. Hunters legally place dozens of live decoy birds in tiny cages around their hunting sites to lure their wild mates before the shotguns. The singing lures make hunting so effective that they are highly sought after. A male song thrush can fetch as much as 120€, and even more for fieldfare.
The housing conditions are often very poor and as a result the birds rarely live long. In the past, the supply of fresh live decoy birds was maintained by large trapping sites (Rocolli) in which the birds were caught with nets as authorised by a derogation permit from the state. The state itself therefore even assumed the role of a live decoy trader.
With our lawsuit passing before the Italian courts in 2014, the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) ensured that all live decoy trapping sites had to be closed. The judges decided that the demand for decoys could be covered by captive breeding programmes. Since then, breeding facilities for various species of thrushes and skylarks have been established all over Italy. The theory is that the birds are bred and fitted with closed breeding rings as chicks.