Hunting curbs

Published: Friday 15 March 1996

MIGRATORY birds may not find their return journey to their homelands in Europe as hazardous as before. The European Parliament, after a heated debate, has finally agreed for the hunting season to close on January 31 each year. 'Environmentalists and anti-hunters won the day after the amendment to close the European'Union (EU) hunting season was passed, by just nine votes on February 15. The original 1979 directive on the conservation of birds had been worded rather simply, calling for a prohibition on hunting during the migratory season.

The birds, after their winter sojourn, are often the targets of attack across the,Eurbpean countries including France, Greece, Germany and Finland. Until now,' EU countries had different closing deadlines for the hunting season. While most migratory birds return to breeding grounds across Europe in February, many others return earlier in January and December.

Says Maarte van Putten, a member of the European Parliament and a keen bird-lover, "These are the birds that deliver the next generation. Hu ,nting them during migration can have a seriously disruptive effect on their ability to breed successfulW."

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