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Europe's top court rules French way of catching songbirds is illegal

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A protester holds a sign as he takes part in a demonstration of hunters to denounce the ban on glue hunting, in Prades, southwestern France, on Septembre 12, 2020
A protester holds a sign as he takes part in a demonstration of hunters to denounce the ban on glue hunting, in Prades, southwestern France, on Septembre 12, 2020   -   Copyright  Credit: AFP
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A French method of capturing songbirds -- known as glue hunting -- has been ruled illegal by Europe's top court.

The technique uses glue-covered traps to catch the birds and kills tens of thousands every year.

It's already banned in the rest of Europe, but in a few areas of France, it's an enduring tradition.

Hunters argue it's a cultural tradition that has no impact on biodiversity.

But the heritage argument was rejected by The European Court of Justice (ECJ). A French court had already ordered a suspension of the method pending the ECJ ruling. Now it faces an outright ban.

Muriel Arnal, founder of One Voice explains why the animal rights group took its complaint to the ECJ.

"We brought it to the European Court of Justice because it's very cruel," Arnal said. "It's been banned in all the other European countries except for France and people don't want to see that any more.

"Our birds are disappearing, they are very vulnerable right now and we need to protect them."

The case taps into a wider dispute in France between animal rights activists and the powerful hunting lobby.

President Emmanuel Macron was in favour of the ban, with his opponents on the right being more sympathetic to the hunters.

The debate is likely to intensify ahead of next year's presidential elections.

Find out more in the video report, above.