EU court declares Malta’s finch traps illegal

Goldfinches have become the part of several finch species that will be protected under the EU ruling. The EU law has been broken by Malta, which allows the trapping and hunting of several finch species, the European court has ruled. Unless the Mediterranean island ends a derogation which it introduced in 2014, it will face potentially substantial fines. The derogation allowed the songbirds to be captured.


Since then, around 1,10,000 finches have been caught by hunters, and this also included many other wild birds like golden plovers and song thrushes. Before the EU’s bird initiative of conserving and preventing avian species, finch-trapping was very much common across Europe. However, this made a decline after the EU’s conservation and prevention practice. According to BirdLife Europe, many nesting species of migratory birds are getting extinct because of the continued usage of clap nets that are used to trap birds.

The group’s policy chief, Ariel Brunner announced that after today’s court judgment, there must be a stop to indiscriminate trapping, which is a completely unsuitable and brutal practice. The court judgment has sent a message that the rule of law must be respected and followed. The court verdict has effectively forbidden the trapping of finches in Malta because the trapping was resumed with the autumn’s hunting season. The law has been applied to seven protected species: linnets, common chaffinches, siskins, European serins, goldfinches, greenfinches, and hawk finches. There has been a reportedly argument by Malta in court as they said that the EU’s birds directive allowed them to strike stability between leisure activities and conservation.

In Luxembourg, the judges found out that more friendly alternative had not been considered and its derogation was also not selective, as it did not apply only to a small number of birds. The ruling noted that only a few of each of the common finch species regularly breed on the islands because of the intensive trapping in Malta. It was also observed that the finch species breed in a high number in other areas of Mediterranean.

It was reported by conservationists that within a few days of their capture, most of the finch species die because of the caged environment they face and also due to other related ailments or diseases. Those who survive are usually traded in markets or sold by trappers to pet shops as domestic birds.

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