The vote of the Parliament proved an amendment aimed at prohibiting the use of live decoy birds for hunting purposes to be unjustified and unsubstantiated owing to anti-hunting sentiments rather than to the interest of animal health.


On 15 April the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) voted against a proposal for an EU-wide ban on the capture and keeping of all wild birds for use as live decoys for hunting purposes, such as magpies, crows, woodpigeons, ducks and thrushes. Being tabled by French Green MEP José Bové as an amendment to a new EU animal health regulation, the proposed ban was presented with the justification that live decoys can transmit diseases in a way that is impossible to monitor.

This prompted FACE and its Members to react, contacting MEPs to inform that such a claim finds no ground in science and urging them to reject the proposed ban. As a matter of fact, the use of such decoy birds could indeed be a valuable instrument to monitor the health of wild birds (e.g. as happened during the avian influenza outbreak), so their use might even be promoted. The real reason behind this amendment was clearly ideologically driven by anti-hunting sentiments.

Furthermore, the use of live decoy birds is permitted and regulated under Directive 2009/147/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 November 2009 on the conservation of wild birds. 

The use of live decoy birds is a traditional and legal hunting activity widespread especially in Mediterranean countries, such as France, Italy and Spain.  

FACE is therefore pleased to see that a vast majority of MEPs rejected the amendment - 468 voted against, 164 in favour and 15 abstained. Approaching the European elections in May, it is worth reminding that the majority of the European Parliament stands up for hunting. 

Quote: “The vote of the Parliament proved the amendment to be unjustified and unsubstantiated”, declared Filippo Segato, FACE Secretary General. “It is preposterous to argue that live decoy birds pose a threat to animal health. The European Commission has even recognized the advantages of using these birds in surveys related to avian influenza outbreaks (1). The use of live decoy birds today is strictly regulated under EU, national and regional laws. It is an ancient tradition linking man to nature, particularly valued in the Mediterranean area, and conducted in a sustainable way, respectful of the welfare of these birds”.

(1) COMMISSION DECISION of 18 August 2006 amending Decision 2005/734/EC as regards certain additional risk mitigating measures against the spread of avian influenza (notified under document number C(2006) 3702)

See the official FACE press release here