France's highest appeals court outlaws glue-trapping of songbirds

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FILE PHOTO: The Conseil d'Etat, France's highest administrative court, is seen in Paris

PARIS (Reuters) - France's highest administrative appeals court ruled on Monday that the hunting practice of trapping songbirds with glue was illegal, saying French law that had permitted it was in breach of European legislation.

For generations, hunters mainly in the south of France have caught songbirds by coating branches of trees with glue, often using the singing of other caged birds to the lure birds to land. Birds are caught for sport or food.

European law has banned the practice since 1979 as cruel and a danger to threatened species. France was the only EU country that provided an exception to the ban, under a 1989 decree allowing glue trapping as long as it is "selective, controlled and in limited quantity".

In a statement, the court said it had cancelled the French law that allowed the practice, following a decision from the court of Justice of the European Union in March that outlawed it when more humane methods can be used.

The EU court ruled that the birds captured, even if cleaned, can sustain irreparable harm.

France suspended the glue-trapping of songbirds last year, but had stopped short of abolishing a practice criticised as barbaric by bird lovers.

(Reporting by Matthieu Protard; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Peter Graff)