Chasse à la glu: Why French hunters are taking the streets

French hunters are protesting about a suspension of one of the country's most controversial hunting techniques - la chasse à la glu. Here's why the issue is ruffling feathers.

Chasse à la glu: Why French hunters are taking the streets
President of the French Hunting Federation Willy Schraen holds a banner as he takes part in a demonstration of hunters. Photo: AFP

In recent weeks France has seen several demonstrations from French hunters, protesting about a suspension of the practice know as chasse à la glu (glue trap hunting). 

This hunting technique has been at the heart of disagreements for years, but it has recently come to a head – here's why.

What is chasse à la glu ?

The chasse à la glu or gluau is a hunting technique only practised in certain areas of France, and used from the beginning of October to mid-December.

Sticks coated with glue are put on tree branches in order to trap songbirds, which will then be unglued and caged in order to serve as lures for other birds (which will be shot by hunters).

These lures are called the appellants (callers) and are set free from their cages after the season ends. They are mostly thrushes and blackbirds.

Photo: AFP

The chasse à la glu is still authorised in five southern French départements (Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Alpes-Maritimes, Bouches-du-Rhône, Var and Vaucluse).

READ ALSO: Opinion: 'Hunting in France is outdated and must be banned'

What’s happening this year?

Though it has been the subject of controversy for years, every year the government gives hunters a quota for “traditional” hunting methods such as chasse à la glu and net hunting.

But this year, there will be no glue trap hunting quota. 

“Following an urgent appeal from the National Federation of Hunters, the Council of State rejected, on September 22nd, 2020, this request to reverse the government decision and to set the quotas authorized by decree,” writes the Direction de l’information légale et administrative on the Service Public website.

Why so much controversy around the chasse à la glu?

In 2009 the European Birds Directive forbade the chasse à la glu in all EU countries, but France managed to get a dispensation to still practice it in certain areas.

The directive prohibits “methods of mass or non-selective capture or killing” of birds, in particular hunting with glue, but provides for exemptions when “there is no other satisfactory method”.

Many wildlife and animal welfare groups have denounced the hunting technique as cruel and traumatising for the appellants, which, when set free, suffer from “musculoskeletal system and feather damage” as well as toxicity from the glue and the solvent, according to a report by the National Centre for Veterinary Toxicological Information, relayed by France Info.

The chasse a la glu is also singled out by the French Bird Protection League (BPL) for threatening the lives of endangered species, which might get glued by mistake.

In early 2019 the BPL had declared they had filled a complaint against France to the European Commission after the Council of State rejected their request to refuse France's glue trap hunting exception.

Last July, the European Union’s executive body also threatened France with legal action if the glue traps were not banned within three months.

It was against this background that president Emmanuel Macron decided in August to suspend chasse à la glu in France.

READ ALSO: France's hunting season claims eight lives – and it's only half way through

What do the hunters say?

But for hunters, who had already denounced the BPL for their “unfounded smear campaigns”, the presidential decision is just “unacceptable”, head of the hunters’ federation Willy Schraen told BFMTV.


In an interview for hunting website, Head of the Association for the Defence of Traditional Thrush Hunts Eric Camoin said a quota of 22,000 birds to be caught by this method was agreed with PM Jean Castex back in August, before being overturned by Macron.

“We were taken for idiots. The rulers certainly said to themselves, with the economic situation, why bother with 5,000 practitioners,” he said.  

Photo: AFP

But a demonstration in the southern French town of Prades (where Jean Castex was mayor before being appointed PM) was not just attended by hunters.

As reports Midi-Libre, wine-growers came to support the marching hunters, saying they had to defend the French rurality which, according to them, is being threatened by the many attacks targeted at hunters.

This is an ongoing complaint in France, where many people who live and work in rural areas feel that their concerns are frequently ignored by the Paris-based government.

So while many people have applauded Macron’s decision – including Environment Minister Barbara Pompili who welcomed the suspension as “a good news for the law and for biodiversity”- he is still facing angry calls to reverse the ban.



By Gwendoline Gaudicheau

Member comments

  1. Braindead children that call themselves hunters. Try shooting grouse in flight not some poor bird stuck on a stick like something out of a fairground attraction. Pathetic.

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Scorching summer was France’s second hottest on record

Three heatwaves since June produced France's second-hottest summer since records began in 1900, the Météo France weather service said on Tuesday, warning that scorching temperatures will be increasingly common as the climate crisis intensifies.

Scorching summer was France's second hottest on record

With 33 days of extreme heat overall, average temperatures for June, July and August were 2.3C above normal for the period of 1991-2020.

It was surpassed only by the 2003 heatwave that caught much of France unprepared for prolonged scorching conditions, leading to nearly 15,000 heat-related deaths, mainly among the elderly.

Data is not yet available for heat-related deaths this summer, but it is likely to be significantly lower than 15,000 thanks to preventative measures taken by local and national authorities. 

Most experts attribute the rising temperatures to the climate crisis, with Météo France noting that over the past eight summers in France, six have been among the 10-hottest ever.

By 2050, “we expect that around half of summer seasons will be at comparable temperatures, if not higher,” even if greenhouse gas emissions are contained, the agency’s research director Samuel Morin said at a press conference.

The heat helped drive a series of wildfires across France this summer, in particular a huge blaze in the southwest that burned for more than a month and blackened 20,000 hectares. 

Unusually, wildfires also broke out even in the normally cooler north of the country, and in total an area five times the size of Paris burned over the summer. 

Adding to the misery was a record drought that required widespread limits on water use, with July the driest month since 1961 – many areas still have water restrictions in place.

MAP: Where in France are there water restrictions and what do they mean?

Forecasters have also warned that autumn storms around the Mediterranean – a regular event as air temperatures cool – will be unusually intense this year because of the very high summer temperatures. A storm that hit the island of Corsica in mid August claimed six lives. 

“The summer we’ve just been through is a powerful call to order,” Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said on Monday, laying out her priorities for an “ecological planning” programme to guide France’s efforts against climate change.