Saturday, 5 January 2019

Is this form of shooting defensible?

A nuthatch coming to feed at Mas del Sol
Each day we watch the wild birds coming to eat from our bird feeders, though these are mainly small seed eating varieties such as tits, finches, nuthatches and the odd robin, not larger birds such as blackbirds or thrushes. We get immense pleasure from these observations, but it seems that there are chasseurs who like to shoot thrushes and blackbirds, presumably purely for sport as the days of "four and twenty" blackbirds baked in pies are well past.
But in some departments, mainly in the south east of France, a system of luring birds to the gun is to catch some alive by putting glue on the branches of trees, then caging the captured birds so their song will attract others to be shot. The species and numbers of birds allowed to be captured are defined by the prefectures in accordance with records kept by the hunters; other birds accidentally attracted by the glue must be cleaned and released.
The LPO (Ligue Protection Oiseaux) asked the courts to outlaw a practice which is in principle contrary to an EU regulation, though derogations are allowed. But the court of appeal dismissed the case, arguing that the practice is not illegal and is closely regulated by the prefectures. The chasseurs, in their official journal, rejoiced that the court had thrown out the complaints of the "Ayatollahs, politically correct extremists" who were trying to ban a "traditional" sport.
Pretty much the same arguments have always been made to defend fox hunting in the UK and hunting of deer and sanglier here. At least the deer and wild boar can be eaten and crops are defended by controlling the numbers, but gluing thrushes to trees to shoot blackbirds? On this we are glad to classed as "ayatollahs" and are sad that that the "sportsmen" cannot find something more worthwhile to do in their spare time.