Keith Taylor has today called on the European Commission to take urgent action to bring an end to the illegal hunting of wild bird populations in Italy.
The EU Birds Directive provides protection for all wild bird species naturally occurring in the EU. Its was adopted in 1979 as a response to increasing concerns about declines in Europe’s wild bird populations due to pollution, habitat loss and unsustainable land use.
On three occasions, the EU Court of Justice has found that Italian law falls short of EU standards to provide adequate protection for wild birds. A number of regions in Italy have adopted and applied regional legislation authorising hunting, for example in the Southern Alps during the autumn migration, the shotting of chaffinches, bramblings, hawfinches and meadow pipits occurs. These derogations are in clear contravention of Italian legislation and the European Commission wild bird protection guidelines which ban activities that directly threaten birds, such as hunting during periods when birds are most vulnerable.
Keith said “The EU has over 500 wonderful wild bird species however unfortunately 43% are threatened or facing serious decline. The EU Birds Directive aims to protect these vulnerable bird populations and a report in 2007 reported that the legislation has made a significant difference in protecting many of Europe’s most threatened birds from further decline. This is why it is important to ensure that all EU member states are enforcing the measures that are in place.
“It is important to remember that wild birds, many of which are migratory, are a shared heritage, and that effective conservation requires international co-operation.”
In a letter to the Italian Environment Minister and EU Environment Commissioner Keith calls for swift action to put an end to this practice and ensure that the provisions of the EU Birds Directive are effectively implemented.
For further information on EU nature policy and the Birds Directive, visit: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/legislation/birdsdirective/index_en.htm
Photo credit: Paul Brentnall