Wildlife Crime

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:

FACE position on combatting wildlife crime adopted

On 25 October 2022, the FACE General Assembly, which represents the views of 7 million hunters, unanimously adopted a new position on wildlife crime, reinforcing our long-standing position on “zero-tolerance”. The position gives particular recognition to the work of the Bern Convention, the European Commission, the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) to combat wildlife crime. Read more


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