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Oppose the Italian Hunting Lobby

Proposed Amendments to Italian Hunting Laws Will Endanger Migrant Birds

At present the proposals to amend the Italian hunting laws are at the parliamentary committee stage and bird conservationists are appealing for international support to ensure that the laws are not changed to the detriment of birds and their habitats.

The new draft law (MODIFICHE ALLA LEGGE 157/1992, PROTEZIONE DELLA FAUNA SELVATICA E PRELIEVO VENATORIO ) includes proposals to:

- increase the number of species which may be hunted from 48 to 54

- remove the sanction of a prison sentence for hunters offending against the law (repeated illegal shooting of protected species) and replace it with a fine only

- extend the hunting season into February. This would not only endanger migrating birds but also Italian bird populations which begin breeding in February

- weaken protection for captive held birds. At present all living decoy birds must be registered and ringed. In future the requirement for ringing would be abolished. At present up to 10 decoy birds per species (max. 100 birds) may be kept. The new law would increase the number of permitted decoy species from 10 to 41; effectively allowing hunters to each keep up to 410 captive birds each. Without ringing the origin of the birds could not be identified and it is expected that large scale trapping of wild birds would begin again. If only 10 % of the estimated 700.000 Italian hunters take advantage of this amendment, hundreds of thousands of birds would be kept in captivity and brutally treated (forced moult, blinding, kept in darkness etc.,)

- nullify the fundamental ban on the keeping of wild birds.The law would contain a number of new conditions:

- up to 15 % of hunting areas would be open to use the whole year round for the training of gun dogs, including protected areas.

- Regional administrations would be authorised to permit a 12 month hunting season (including the hours of darkness) for certain species adjudged to cause damage to game (e.g. foxes and ravens).

-The large gauge shotgun cartridges which are banned at present may be used for wild boar hunting. This type of shot is also suitable for hunting birds of prey.

If the law is passed in this form the number of animals and birds shot annually in Italy would increase dramatically and would make it very difficult to control illegal hunting of protected species. The weakening of the regulations on the keeping of live decoy birds would cost very many birds their lives each year.

Italian conservationists have asked PROACT to lobby the members of the parliamentary committee which is currently studying the proposed changes. PROACT calls on concerned birders everywhere to join the campaign. Please visit the PROACT ITALY site http://www.proact-campaigns.net/italy/ today to add your protest by mailing the individual members of the parliamentary committee.

Non rendere il bracconaggio legale in Italia, ferma le modifiche alla legge sulla caccia. (Don`t legalise poaching in Italy - say no to changes in hunting legislation)

David Conlin - Proact International

4th July 2014