France pressed again over bird hunting

NGOs present petition to European Parliament calling for shorter French hunting season

Conservation groups from across Europe today renewed calls on France to restrict the hunting of wild birds in line with EU law, presenting a petition containing over 2m signatures to European Parliament president Nicole Fontaine. The NGOs' specific target is the length of the French bird hunting season, which they claim contravenes the EU's 1979 wild birds directive by permitting shooting of migratory birds while they are migrating or breeding (ENDS Daily 17 February).

France is currently facing several court actions for failure to comply fully with the 1979 EU wild birds directive, including one over the length of its bird hunting season (ENDS Daily 18 January). In 1998, the national parliament further extended the season, hugely irritating both environment minister Dominique Voynet and the European Commission.

Conservation groups coordinating the petition to the European Parliament claim it is the most successful ever in Europe on a conservation issue. In addition to over 1.1m signatures in France, it contains 522,000 from the UK, 123,000 from Italy, 122,000 from Belgium, 46,000 from Germany and 30,000 from Switzerland, plus smaller numbers from over 18 other countries.

Follow Up:
League for the Protection of Birds, tel: +33 5 46 82 12 34.

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