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Stop Italian Gull Cull

Italian MP introduces parliamentary bill to allow mass killing of gulls and cormorants…

Signor Luca Bellotti, a member of the Alleanza Nazionale (National Alliance), introduced a Bill in May 2003 which would remove Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus, Herring Gull Larus argentatus, Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans, and Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo from the (relative) protection of national hunting legislation and permit regional authorities to exterminate them as pests, even within the confines of nature reserves and national parks. The bill, Disposizioni per il controllo della popolazione dei gabbiani e dei cormorani, is now at the committee stage and is being considered and discussed by the all-party members of the XIII Agricultural Committee of the Italian Parliament.Gulls are not automatically pests and extermination of them in large numbers will upset the ecological balance and deprive the Italian coastline of a graceful addition to its skies.Italy, as a state practically surrounded by sea and as a traditional seafaring nation has a special responsibility in the Mediterranean for coastal wildlife. On the other hand, the notoriety of its large number of hunters gives great cause for concern should the bill be passed. The probability that other gull species will be shot due to misidentification is high, and the danger to other large birds in the heat and euphoria of the chase is self-evident. Not least, the disturbance that shooting and increased human intrusion into protected areas will cause, is considerable.The proposed measures are contrary to EU legislation, will bring sanctions and will have to be revoked. This is yet another attempt in certain circles, with the support of those forming the present Italian government, to delegate important policy matters and legislation of European and national concern to regional level. Extreme vigilance must be exercised to ensure that this dangerous erosion of environmental progress in Europe is not permitted to succeed, even in the short term.

The League for the Abolition of Hunting (LAC) in Milan, a Proact partner, has asked for support in lobbying MPs in the committee presently considering the bill. Those wishing to do this will find draft texts, in Italian and English, at http://www.proact-campaigns.net/italy/id24.html

David Conlin, Proact International and Anti-Hunting League (LAC) Milan, Italy.

4th July 2014