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After a 50-year ban, the controversial form of hunting may be on its way back to Denmark

The government wants hunting with falcons allowed again. Photo: Richard Sylvestersen / Scanpix Denmark

of Ritzau sep. 2017

A super remedy against seagulls, say the proponents. While critics believe it is ineffective and a sin for the birds.

Hunting with falcons and other birds of prey is to be allowed again in Denmark after a 50-year ban.

That is what the government and the Danish People’s Party believe.

It arouses anger in the nature and animal welfare organisations, who believe that it is pure flight of birds backwards towards inferior animal welfare.

– Falconry will mean significantly more birds of prey in cages. Birds of prey must have space to follow their nature and fly many kilometers every day, says the chairman of the Danish Ornithological Association (DOF), Egon Østergaard.

Peregrine falcons can hunt seagulls

One of the standard-bearers for falconry is the environment spokesperson in the Danish People’s Party, Pia Adelsteen.

The team that negotiated the falconry re-introduced to Denmark and even fought several NGO’s aswell
(Morten Møller, Preben Schøpzinsky, Frank Skårup, Morten Stricker, Edith Wenzel og Rene R. Bruun)

– The main reason why I have entered into the case is that you can use peregrine falcons to chase colonies of gulls and herons away from residential areas that are plagued by seagulls’ cries, she says.

Mogens Hansen is a former airport biologist at Copenhagen Airport.

For many years, he has worked to prevent collisions between aircraft and birds. Including also studied use of birds of prey against gulls and rooks elsewhere in the world.

– It has no effect. This shows experience from a number of places. The most experienced falconer in England even advises against it, because the falcons are easily injured by flying into overhead lines and windows and cars, he says

Experts reject the idea.

René Rask Bruun is chairman of the Danish Falconry Association. For almost 25 years, it has fought on behalf of its approximately 20 members to revive falconry.

However, he also does not want to use his falcons for seagull control or spend a lot of effort training them for it.

– Falconry will never be a great sport. In addition, it is far too time-consuming, he says.

– But it is an exciting hobby and can inspire many people to take care of nature and get interested in birds of prey. I understand the DOF’s concern about birds in captivity. But there are no birds that are taken out into the open like ours, he says

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