EU court rules that using glue to trap songbirds causes harm

Bird in tree, photo: Nicolas DC on Unsplash
Bird in tree, photo: Nicolas DC on Unsplash

The Court of Justice of the European Union ruled on Wednesday that hunting birds by using glue traps was causing the animals “irreparable harm”. Many countries in the EU have banned the practice, but France still allows it.

The animal rights organisations One Voice and League for the Protection of Birds had brought a case against the environment ministry, arguing that the practice represented animal cruelty and should be stopped.

Glue-trapping involves hunters spreading glue known as birdlime on tree branches to catch songbirds. They are then used as “callers” to attract other birds, who are then shot by hunters. Other birds also get stuck in the glue.

The EU court said glue traps were “capable, by their very nature, of damaging the feathers of any bird captured”.

President Emmanuel Macron suspended the traditional trapping method last August. Before the suspension, France allowed the killing of 42,000 birds from glue trap hunting.

The ruling from the EU court paves the way for a complete ban. Environment Minister Barbara Pompili suggested that the government would move to make the ban permanent.

But hunters have not given up the fight, arguing that nothing had yet been banned and the EU court had simply returned the matter to the State Council, the country’s highest court for administrative law matters.

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