Sale of bird traps banned in Portugal

Following years of campaigning by SPEA (BirdLife Portugal), laws around the manufacture, possession and sale of bird traps have been revised in Portugal. The law now prohibits not only the use of non-selective traps such as lime-sticks, snares and snap-traps, but also their sale, with a fine of up to €18,000.

After years of work with parliamentary groups and with the support of thousands of citizens who signed SPEA’s  #ArmadilhasNAO petition, this is an important step in the fight against the illegal trapping and killing of birds in Portugal. These activities were supported by MAVA through the Outcome Action Plan focusing on threatened birds in the Mediterranean in the form of a small grant.

Even though wild birds have been protected by national and European law for two decades, an estimated 283’000 birds were trapped in Portugal between 2011 and 2017, to be sold as pets or eaten as a delicacy. The European Court of Justice itself decreed in March 2021, in response to an enquiry from the French Council of State, that the use of lime-sticks (an artisanal glue used to trap birds) is illegal according to the EU Birds Directive. Nevertheless, these crimes often go unpunished because they are difficult to detect and investigate.

Banning the sale of these traps which serve no other purpose than to catch and kill birds, is an important step, for which we congratulate ourselves,” says Joaquim Teodósio, Head of SPEA’s Conservation Department. “This change increases authorities’ ability to act against the trapping and killing of birds, and makes it harder to perpetrate these illegal activities.”

More on the result of this campaign can be found here.

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