DO NOT ALLOW FRANCE TO CIRCUMVENT THE
EU BIRD DIRECTIVE
Mrs Margot WALLSTROM
EU Commissioner for the Environment
Monsieur Michel BARNIER
EU Commissioner for Regional Policy and Institutional
Dear Mrs Wallstrom,
Dear Monsieur Barnier,
In August the French Council of State (Conseil
d'Etat), following appeals by the French Bird Protection League (LPO) and other associations concerned with the protection
of nature, wisely suspended the hunting of ducks and other water birds until the beginning of September. The decision sadly
did not encompass wading birds, or lapwings and geese, which may be hunted for the 3. and 10. of August respectively.
This early start to the inland hunting season
will have serious implications for other protected waders, ducks and water birds which will not have ended their breeding
process. As a consequence the disturbance caused in this sensitive period by hunters and their dogs greatly increases the
risk of brood abandonment by adults and premature leaving of the nest by unfledged young birds.
This blatant pro-hunting bias, in open contempt
of the views of the vast majority of non-hunting citizens in France, is a biological non-sequitur and is incompatible with
the articles of the EU Birds Directive. These oblige member states to prohibit hunting during periods of migration, breeding
and the dependence of young birds on their parents and, furthermore, demands that they should
"take all necessary measures to preserve and
encourage the population of all the species of wild European birds at a level corresponding to ecological and scientific requirements"
Article 7 also requires that states
"ensure that hunting of these species does not
compromise conservation measures taken in their areas of distribution".
Of the wading birds which may be hunted from
the beginning of August - and which breed in France those principally affected (Lapwing, Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew,
Ruff and Redshank) are known to be in decline
throughout France and Europe, due to the more than 50 per cent reduction
in wetland sites in the last 20 years). Globally, nearlyhalf of the hunted migratory birds in France are in decline or vulnerable,principally
as a result of habitat loss or deterioration. A number of these species benefit elsewhere from a Community management plan
and a moratorium on hunting should be considered for certain species (Snipe, Redshank, Lapwing), at least for an interim period.
We, the undersigned, are personally pledged
to actively support and promote the protection of birds and their habitats, in particular during the periods of migration,
reproduction and fledging.
From its government's actions (or rather
inaction) we can only conclude that France is unwilling to be commit herself to an ambitious nature and environment protection
policy. On the contrary, rather than following the potentially rewarding path of Ecotourism, she capitulates to the hunting
lobby which continue to campaign for revisions of the European Union Birds Directive of April 1979.
We therefore urge you, as the Commissioners
with the most direct responsibility in this matter, to ensure that the European Union insists that France, like other member
states, respects and fulfils its obligations arising from the Birds Directive, most particularly in relation to curtailment
of the hunting season in favour of the protection of migratory European bird
In the hope that you will take an active
and interest in this matter we remain,
(Name and Address)