FACE has a long-standing policy zero-tolerance towards illegal killing, as it is simply not hunting.
The issue of illegal killing is a widespread concern but is not and should not be largely linked to hunting or hunters.
It is a problem with a variety of motives, primarily illegal trade and smuggling, persecution (for competition or commercial reasons), indirect killing through poisoned baits – all committed by a large variety of actors.
Despite the considerable positive contributions of Europe’s 7 million hunters to the conservation of nature and wildlife, this unfortunate and untenable association jeopardises the reputation of all sustainable hunters, compromising one of the strongest and most experienced support groups of nature and wildlife at a crucial time in Europe’s nature when collaboration is key.
For FACE, sustainable hunting is not a problem for illegal killing, but illegal killing is a problem for sustainable hunting!
Through their rural roots and conservation ethics, hunters and hunting organisations are in a unique position to assist the relevant authorities in reducing the practice of illegal killing of birds.
There are many examples of hunters’ efforts as they act to defend their interests: in countries as diverse as Germany and Malta, hunters cooperate with wildlife authorities to combat illegal killing. In other cases such as Greece, hunters pay from their own resources the employment of 300 game wardens that carry out many additional functions related to wider nature conservation.
Positive examples whereby sustainable hunting can significantly reduce the levels of illegal killing are widely spread. In Malta, for example, a limited spring hunt (<5000 birds) of Turtle Dove, in line with the strict conditions of Article 9 of the Birds Directive, has resulted in a well-documented and significant reduction in illegal killing.
FACE engages with different platforms, experts and conventions to provide a European hunters’ perspective to this complex and deeply social problem and share our expertise in biological, social and legislative aspects. Currently, FACE is actively following:
- the Tunis Action Plan 2013-2020 for the eradication of illegal killing, trapping and trade of wild birds;
- the Bern Convention network of Special Focal Points (SFP) for the illegal killing of birds;
- the EU Road Map towards eliminating illegal killing, trapping and trade of birds.
FACE also promotes the European Charter on Hunting and Biodiversity.