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image captionFrench hunters have long argued that thrushes (pictured) and blackbirds are the only birds harmed by glue-trapping

The controversial practice of trapping birds on glue-covered twigs cannot be allowed even as a tradition, the European Court of Justice has ruled.

French hunters were told to suspend glue-trapping last summer when the European Commission warned it could take legal action.

Conservationists have condemned the practice as barbaric.

The Court said the fact that a method of hunting was traditional did not mean another solution should not be used.

Glue-trapping in recent years has been confined to areas of south-eastern France after Spain banned the practice of coating sticks in lime. French hunters argued that it only harmed particular species such as thrushes and songbirds.

France’s League for the Protection of Birds (LPO) then challenged the practice known as “chasse à la glu” at the European Court in Luxembourg, arguing that it harmed not just songbirds but other birds too.

In July 2020 the European Commission warned France that it was not complying with EU law on hunting and capture practices for birds, prompting President Emmanuel Macron to order a halt to glue-trapping the following month pending the ECJ’s final ruling.

In its decision on Wednesday, the Court said no EU country could allow a method of hunting birds that led to unintentional capture of birds (by-catch) “where that by-catch is likely to cause harm other than negligible harm to the species concerned”.

It was highly likely that even if birds were cleaned they would still sustain “irreparable harm” from limes that damaged the feathers of any bird captured.

The LPO hailed the ruling as the culmination of a long fight.

Read more on European hunting disputes:

media captionLimited hunting is allowed but conservationists monitoring the migration have reported widespread illegalities