It is often confused with the crow or the carrion crow. For the past ten years, the jackdaw has been talked about a lot in Brittany. Protected species since 1989, the corvid appreciates the climate and the fertile lands of the region where it has taken its ease and proliferates. A little too much in the eyes of farmers who accuse it of wreaking havoc on their crops, causing very significant financial losses. Particularly fond of young shoots or barely sown seeds, the jackdaw has thus become “persona non grata” in Brittany.
To limit damage to farms, the prefects of Finistère, Morbihan and Côtes-d’Armor recently issued derogatory decrees to authorize the slaughter of around 25,000 jackdaws in these three departments during the year. In the viewfinder of hunters, birds can still escape this certain death. Because last year, a similar decree taken in the Côtes-d’Armor had been challenged by the courts after a request filed by the League for the Protection of Birds.
The jackdaw wrongly accused of all evil?
The request for urgent cancellation and suspension of these decrees comes this time from the associations One Voice and Crow Life. During the summary hearing which was held this Wednesday morning before the administrative court of Rennes, the representatives of these associations for the defense of animals highlighted the “illegal” nature of these orders. Recalling that the jackdaw is a protected species, they are surprised that we can authorize “this destruction of wildlife”.
Accused of all evils, jackdaws also have good backs according to the two associations. “How do you prove that the damage is attributable to the jackdaws alone? asks Maître Nicolas-Laurent, lawyer for One Voice, also pointing to the fixed quotas “which are not based on any scientific data”. But it is above all the absence of alternative solutions to slaughter envisaged by the prefecture that enrages the two associations.
The effectiveness of alternative solutions raises questions
Because these solutions exist according to them. A survey, commissioned by the Dreal at the University of Rennes 1 and which has just been published, recommends to limit the expansion of the species in Brittany to “limit access to nesting sites” by obstructing example chimneys. The study also evokes the issue for farmers of limiting the access of jackdaws to food. This requires greater closure of agricultural buildings or a change in practices such as “adjustment of sowing methods”.
As many solutions as the representatives of the State and the farmers consider ineffective when the damage is very important. “There are alternative means to shooting that exist, such as scaring. But they do not allow crops to be protected when there are too many individuals, ”underlines the representative of the Morbihan prefecture. “Destruction is not an objective in itself but the only possible solution currently to limit agricultural damage”, agrees the departmental representative of the Chamber of Agriculture.
The Rennes administrative court will make its decision whether or not to suspend the three orders in the coming days.