Killing’s a lark


03. 09. 2018

The skylark I saw this spring and summer, singing loudly as it flittered above the fields, will be heading for France, or across France to the Iberian Peninsula. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for it.

Photo: Ómar Runólfsson Photo: Ómar Runólfsson

France is one of the countries where several migratory bird species are massacred, the Eurasian skylark being one of them. And it's all legal!

It sounds incredible, but even in the 21st century, a country that is so proud of its culture still has laws that would be unthinkable to us more than a hundred years ago. France still allows 64 bird species to be hunted, while elsewhere in the European Union it is 14 species. Among those species that “cultured” France allows to be hunted is the skylark.

Roughly a month ago, three departments in the southwest of the country published quotas for “traditional” lark hunting. In addition to 180,000 (!) larks killed using “modern” shotguns, they allowed for up to 370,000 (!!!) larks to be caught “traditionally” in nets and box-traps. Those are unbelievable figures!

French hunters say that, just like last year, when “just” over 100,000 larks were caught in “traditional ways”, the quota will not be used up this season. In reality, however, there is no justifiable quota. Hunting skylarks is absolutely unacceptable not just from the ethical point of view, but also because their numbers have fallen sharply in Europe and continue to decline due to agricultural policy.

But this is all about politics. Hunters represent a considerable number of votes, so President Macron pays them close heed. It’s possible that tomorrow the Élysée Palace will hold a meeting to reform hunting. One of the things Macron’s reform rests on is to halve the fee for hunting licenses.

It is highly likely that, due to French “tradition” and the votes for local politicians, I will never see the lark I mentioned in the introduction. There are plenty of things that anger me, but this barbarism is up there at the top.