The judge, seized by the League for the Protection of Birds (LPO) and One Voice, considered that the decrees issued by the government on October 4 risked contravening European law and that there was thus “a serious doubt as to their legality”, according to the decision consulted by AFP.
A year earlier, in October 2021, the decrees authorizing these traditional lark hunts as well as for other birds (thrushes, blackbirds, lapwings, golden plovers) had been suspended for the same reason via the emergency procedure. of the referral. The debate on the merits of the case, which has not yet taken place, is scheduled for Monday before the Council of State.
Despite the suspension of the decrees issued for the 2021-2022 hunting season, the government had resumed authorization decrees for the capture of the lark “using pairs of horizontal nets (“pantes”)”, according to a first decree, concerning the departments of Gironde, Landes, Lot-et-Garonne and Pyrénées-Atlantiques, for the period “from October 1 to November 20”.
A second decree specified the number of captures authorized with pantes for the 2022-2023 season, i.e. up to 56,672 in the Landes.
Another text this time authorized hunting using trap cages (“matoles”), “under strictly controlled conditions”, “in the departments of Landes and Lot-et-Garonne from October 1 to November 20”.
The European “birds” directive of 2009 prohibits techniques for the mass capture of birds without distinction of species. A derogation is possible “provided that it is duly justified and when there is no other satisfactory solution for capturing certain birds”.
However, considers the judge, “the Minister has not demonstrated that these traditional hunting methods would be the only ones allowing the capture of skylarks in these departments”, a result which can be obtained “by shooting or breeding”, according to a press release from the Council of State.
In addition, the judge “points out that the methods thus authorized lead to the capture of other birds, and cannot be considered as selective”, since “at least 15 to 20% of other bird species are indeed captured by matoles”.