Décision de justice

The Conseil d’État rules that several traditional bird hunting techniques are illegal

Today, the Conseil d’État, acting on a referral by two animal protection associations, cancelled several authorizations to hunt lapwings, golden plovers, skylarks, thrushes and blackbirds using nets (pantes, tenderies) or cages (matoles). It considers that these authorizations issued by the Minister in charge of the environment do not comply with the requirements of European law on the protection of birds.

The League for the protection of birds and the association One Voice have asked the Conseil d’État to cancel ministerial authorizations to hunt lapwings, golden plovers, thrushes and blackbirds using tenderies (nets fixed to the ground or nooses depending on the species hunted) in the Ardennes department, and skylarks with pantes (horizontal nets) and matoles (cages) in the departments of Gironde, Landes, Lot-et-Garonne and Pyrénées-Atlantiques for the 2018 to 2020 hunting seasons.

The European “Birds” Directive of 30 November 2009 prohibits techniques that capture birds en masse and without distinction of species. However, it also provides that a derogation may be granted, provided that it is duly justified and when “there is no other satisfactory solution” to capture certain birds.

The Conseil d’État found that the ministerial authorizations in question, on the one hand, were not duly motivated and, on the other hand, that the minister was not able to establish that these hunting methods, albeit traditional, were the only ones allowing the capture of lapwings, golden plovers, skylarks, thrushes and blackbirds. As the European Court of Justice stated last March , simply wishing to preserve these so-called “traditional” hunting methods is not sufficient to authorize them.

1  Judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union in case C-900/19 - 17 March 2021