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Trapping of birds in Italy – how you can help

Robins in traps

We’re in the 21st Century and still we see cruelty and trapping of birds in many countries around the Mediterranean, but in this post I’ll be looking at the trapping which goes on in the north of Italy.

From the start let’s make it clear that this is illegal under both Italian and European law. Those who continue the practice say that, as it isn’t hunting, it is not governed by the restrictions on hunting – but why do they do it?

The simple answer is money. There are restaurants in the northern towns and villages which will serve polenta e osei – grilled song birds and polenta, but only to known clients who can be trusted not to denounce the restaurant to the authorities. This must be proof, if proof is needed that they know they are acting criminally.polenta e osei

Money – a robin or similar song bird will be sold to the restaurant for a Euro, and if you have a couple of lines of traps on the hillside, each of, perhaps, 20 archetti traps, there is a steady income to be had every autumn.

Archetti traps

So, what can be done? LIPU, and other organisations, run camps each year where volunteers scour the hillsides to the north of Brescia (home of the Beretta shotgun) for the traps and mist nets which are also set. The tragedy is that birds caught in the traps usually have their legs broken so cannot be released, but the removal of the trap does prevent more birds falling to it.


In the past the volunteers have been attacked and their cars set on fire but these events are less common now even though the trapping still goes on. The teams of volunteers need accommodation and food during their spell at the camp and these are provided by LIPU, supported since 1990 by the British branch – LIPU-UK.

You can help by supporting LIPU-UK, membership is not expensive and we have made real progress over the years in reducing the trapping. LIPU-UK is a registered charity run entirely by unpaid volunteers which means that over 85% of funds raised are applied to improving conditions for birds in Italy – don’t delay, help us today!

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