Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Alouette, Gentille Alouette

Here is a story that first appeared in Birdwatch Magazine and on the Bird Guides Internet page on 07/04/2019. French Hunting Complaint Lodged With EU.

It concerns the Skylark, Alauda arvenis, a bird that regularly features on Another Bird Blog. 

I reproduce the article here for the benefit of blog readers because it deserves a very wide audience in the World at Large, here in the UK and also in member countries of the European Union. 

Once again it displays how the French have never been big on obeying laws of any kind. There’s a disregard shown at the highest level, here by the double standards of the French President Emmanuel Macron who allows himself exemption from the laws of his beloved EU. 

While the story is from Bird Guides, the Skylark photos are my own. 


“Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux (LPO) is to lodge an official complaint with the European Union (EU), accusing France of breaking rules on hunting and trapping and failing to protect endangered species. 

LPO is using the 40th anniversary of the EU's Birds Directive, which outlaws the "massive or non-selective" killing of birds, to highlight what it deems cruel and illegal methods such as glue sticks and traps. 

After the French government ignored previous pleas from LPO, the organisation has been left with no choice but to lodge the complaint. The state council approves of glue sticks, saying the method was traditional and there was no other satisfactory method of trapping the birds. Stone crush traps, once banned for a century, were legalised in France in 2005 and are also considered unnecessarily cruel as often trapped birds do not die instantly. 

Wood Pigeons, Eurasian Skylarks, Eurasian Curlew and many species of migratory thrush are all fair game for French bird hunters and, although hunting periods and species quotas are set for different departments within the country, LPO says these are often ignored. 


Kim Dallet, LPO spokeswoman, said LPO had lodged numerous complaints to the government over hunting methods of hunting birds and the threatened species involved. She said: "To mark the anniversary of the EU directive, we're taking it up to European level, which will hopefully force the French government to respond and to respect the directive. 

"We have species of bird in a bad way in terms of conservation that are still being hunted in France, which is absolutely against the directive. French hunters can kill around 63 different species while in other countries in Europe it's 20-30 at the most. Also, hunters in France do not respect the agreed hunting period or local prefects give them extra hours or days to hunt. I don't know what it is about hunting in France, perhaps because we have more of a hunting tradition. But the situation has to evolve." 

Reports by French researchers last year found that the number of birds in rural areas had dropped by a third in 15 years, partly because of intensive farming and the massive use of pesticides. 


The French president, Emmanuel Macron, joined a hunt during his 40th birthday celebrations at the Château de Chambord in December 2017. "Hunting is a wonderful advantage for biodiversity, development of our rural territory and a popular activity to safeguard," he told the hunting lobby. Chasseurs de France tweeted a picture of Macron with hunters, saying he had "praised the contribution of hunting to nature", which brought a swift response from the Elysée that the photo should not be published as Macron had specifically banned pictures being taken.” 

Emmanuel Macron

Meanwhile, in a boucherie in Provence.

"At the back of the shop a woman prepared the speciality of the day, which my friend told me was called allouettes sans têtes, skylarks without heads. I soon found myself singing the song we were taught as children in French class.

Alouette, gentille Alouette   (Skylark, nice skylark)
Alouette, je te plumerai       (Skylark, I shall pluck you)
Je te plumerai la tête           (I shall pluck your head)

The song continues adding all the other bits of the little bird that will be plucked, le bec - the beak, le cou - the neck, le dos - the back, les ailes - the wings, les pattes - the feet,  la queue - the tail.

Each time a part of the bird is added, you repeat all the other parts, so it goes on and on, presumably it was meant to teach the French words for parts of the anatomy, and I remember our French teacher, Madame Gailleman patting the parts of her body that the song referred to whilst singing the song."

Linking today to Eileeen's Blogspot and Stewart's World Bird Wednesday.


Absinthe said...

Thank goodness we have the EU to try and enforce these rules. I for one will be dismayed if we lose all the environmental protections which the EU have given us, if Brexit goes ahead.

Rhodesia said...

There is so much hunting here and it is a worry to be out walking in the hunting season. I do not like walking on main roads and generally take to tracks, but I make sure I wear bright colours, even then it is not 100%. Missed bullets can travel a long way!! I cannot understand why anyone would want to kill small birds. If it is food then they are only a mouthful so why go to the trouble! Cheers Diane

David M. Gascoigne, said...

It is truly sad that these practices continue. Words fail me. A few years ago I visited Cambodia and saw poor people using mist nets to trap birds for the pot. Misuse of 20th Century technology if ever I saw it. The level of poverty was so grim, however, that while I was revolted it was hard to be judgemental. But given the French experience where this kind barbarity continues in a country where no one needs to kill songbirds to survive, it makes me wonder whether the practice will continue in Cambodia too. When will the excuse that it is a tradition be used to defend the indefensible?

Margaret Birding For Pleasure said...

Are people ever going to learn? I hope after Brexit the EU can protect these birds. I will be away in my old caravan over Eater so will not be able to comment. Have a lovely Easter.

Lowcarb team member said...

I'm shaking my head, I just don't know what to say, this is so sad.

All the best Jan

eileeninmd said...

Hello, Love your Skylark images. I have never been a fan of any hunting, I just barely except the deer hunting in my area. When all the hunting is done, what will be left. Any Conservation has gone out the window. Sorry, I could rant on. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your day and weekend! Happy Easter!

italiafinlandia said...

Thanks for the information, although it is sad to apprehend it.
The lark is so lovely with its little crest...

Wishing you a peaceful Easter weekend!

sandyland said...

wow taught that song to my french students

Anu said...

Hello Phil. Very important issue. France, Sicily, Greece, Italy... Small birds are hunted in all the above countries…

Adam Jones said...

Sadly all too common across lots of Europe and not just this species, as I'm sure you are aware Phil. I have no idea how to stop such things, as no one seems to enforce the law, and that includes our own country. It's a disgrace.
Having said all that, I enjoyed seeing your Skylark pictures.

Angie said...

Phil - I always try to take a positive view, but this leaves me speechless.

Tanza Erlambang said...

illegal hunting cause extinction many species in developing countries.

Have a great weekend

Related Posts with Thumbnails