Live decoys for hunting
In many countries where the shooting of migratory birds is permitted, hundreds of thousands of thrushes, finches, doves, ducks and other waterfowl are wild caught each year to be used as live decoys for hunting. This phenomenon is especially prevalent for thrushes, larks and finches; but also to other species such as turtle doves, golden plovers and other waders, which can still be hunted in Italy and France.
CABS and our partner associations have already campaigned to restrict the cruel use and keeping of live decoys in these countries. For example, through complaints to the Italian administrative courts, we have recently managed to ensure that finches, larks and thrushes can no longer be caught in northern Italy and then sold to hunters for use as live decoys. At the same time, during CABS field investigations, hunters are repeatedly found to have wild caught decoy birds in their possession which we ensure are confiscated, rehabilitated and released. During our bird protection camps in Brescia, northern Italy, more than 500 live decoy birds are routinely seized from registered hunters each autumn. The birds are either not ringed or fitted with falsified rings in an attempt to make them appear captive-bred.
In Malta, too, CABS reports to the police regularly lead to criminal proceedings and sentences against live decoy trappers and traders. For example, a organised criminal group were successfully prosecuted in 2018 for large-scale trapping of golden plovers which being caught and sold online.