Last minute reprieve for wild geese flying over France

Good news for wild geese as France’s highest administrative court suspends a decree authorising the extension of wild goose hunting.

A group of NGOs – France Nature Environnement (FNE), La ligue pour la protection des oiseaux (LPO), Humanité et Biodiversité, and One Voice – has urged the ‘Conseil d’État’ to intervene against the decree that expanded the hunting period of the migratory bird.

The decree, published by the Ministry for Ecological and Socially-just Transition, authorised the hunting of 4000 wild geese in February, despite European nature protection rules stating that hunting the species must end by 31 January.

The court rejected the arguments of the hunters and repeated – as it has been doing for the past 20 years – that the hunting must stop at the end of January.

LPO list the arguments given by the court:

  • The objective of the ‘adaptive management’ of hunting isn’t to bypass the date of hunting
  • There will be no damage due to the presence of geese in France
  • The actual number of geese flying over France is lower than ministry forecasts.

A public consultation was held in January to determine if the hunting could go on later than the current limitation. 52,000 people took part and the majority of them were against the proposal.

In a statement, France Nature Environnement and Humanité et Biodiversité hailed the Council’s decision and called on public powers to ensure better implementation of nature protection legislation. They report that it is the twelfth time that the French state has been called to order on this issue.

NGOs and hunters have different opinions on the question and the National Federation of Hunters declared that “The State Council took a shocking decision in refusing to recognise the legitimacy of geese regulation.”