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Songbird Slaughter Authorised

French Environment Minister authorises the reintroduction of stone crush traps

The Barbaric Use of Stone Crush Traps in France Must Again Be Banned

Back to the Stone Age
- Since November 2005 thousands of songbirds may once again be trapped and crushed to death under stone slabs - and subsequently eaten as delicacies. The traps, set out on the limestone plateaux east of Avignon, are among the most brutal instruments in the European hunter's arsenal.

A trap consists of a limestone slab weighing several kilograms which is propped up on twigs and wood slivers and strewn with juniper berries as bait. Birds coming to eat the berries brush against the twigs and are squashed under the slab or trapped in a cavity under the slab. The victims of this literally Stone Age hunting method are above all Thrushes, Robins, Pipits and Finches. As many of these species are protected under EU legislation the use of these indiscriminate traps (in French 'tendelles') was up until now forbidden throughout the EU. Under no external pressure, the French Minister for Ecology and Sustainable Development Mme Nell Olin signed a law in November 2005 which permitted this brutal hobby to be practised again in the Départements Lozère and Aveyron. From the beginning of November until the end of January 'tendelles' can once again be set out in 31 communities between the Central Massif and the Tarn Gorge. The Minister justified the lifting of the ban with the development of a new form of trap in which the birds are only ‘trapped alive’ under the stone slab ‘but not killed’. CABS on the spot

In the course of only a few days a Committee team found and documented several dozen trapping sites with more than 2,000 stone traps. Traps were even recorded on the boundary of the Cevenne National Park. Checks in the vicinity of the towns of Millau and Florac found numerous Song and Mistle Thrushes, Fieldfares, three Robins, a Meadow Pipit and a Chaffinch which were all released. An exponential projection of the area searched in relation to the total area of the plateau gives a total of between 75,000 and 125,000 stone crush traps in which countless migrant birds meet a painful end every season. Many victims are not killed outright but bleed to death, suffocate, die of thirst or die as a result of stress. Those which survive relatively unharmed have their neck broken by the hunter later. The conclusion is that what the French hunters 'sold' the Minister as 'discriminate', 'humane' and 'traditional' is in reality cruel and environmentally-alien barbarism.

The Committee against Bird Slaughter (CABS) has submitted an environmental protest to the EU but it looks as though that more than 75,000 of these – literally ‘stone age’ traps will be set out in the French Central Massif this November. A protest action is now being organised by CABS which Proact is supporting in parallel. On the Proact site, link below, you will find a draft protest mail to Minister Olin in French and English. Experience has shown that such mail actions can have a measure of success so your participation can make a difference.

To protest go to: http://www.proact-campaigns.net/localcampaigns/stone_traps.html

Submitted by: David Conlin, Proact and Alex Heyd Komitee gegen den Vogelmord e.V. (Committee Against Bird Slaughter)

4th July 2014