The European Commission has requested by letter to the "central authorities of the State" clarification on the actions that are planned to ensure compliance with the European directive of birds throughout the Spanish territory that prohibits the capture of finches – small birds like the goldfinch or the verderón, which are characterized by their song and are not hunting species. Europe considers that the explanations given by Spain in this regard are not sufficient to close the open infringement procedure for that reason.
The Ornithological NGO SEO / BirdLife, in struggle for years against this practice known as silvestrismo, ensures that between 2013 and 2018 has authorized in Spain the capture of 1,731,861 birds such as the goldfinch, the common linnet, the serin verdecillo and the canary, the chaffinch, the common greenfinch or the siskin goldfinch. Traditionally, they are birds that are used for singing contests. It is "species that are in decline, so you can compromise their future survival," adds SEO. The most affected are the common linnet, which suffers a decline of 67% and the little green with 47%.
Most of the territories where silvestrismo is practiced committed not to grant new authorizations to capture these birds but only during the year 2018. A period that is scarce to the European Union, because "has been stuck to the current year " The letter asks for a report from the autonomous communities and cities in which the permanence of this decision "beyond this exercise" is manifested in an "unequivocal way". Asturias is the only community that has already opted for a permanent ban.
The letter refers to the specific case of the Community of Madrid that "has not even" transmitted in its response report "any commitment to end the exceptional authorizations for the capture of finches." SEO / BirdLife remembers that it is an unnecessary practice since there are alternatives such as captive breeding that could be eradicated. But "despite the fact that most of the autonomous communities have expressed their clear will to end with the authorization of the capture of finches, some maintain a lukewarm posture and lack concrete and definitive actions".
"The letter is a reproach to the Ministry of Ecological Transition that is not clearly stated, and that has not taken any action could disallow any type of capture," says David de la Bodega, member of SEO / BirdLife.
In July 2011, the European Commission began its investigations to clarify the situation of the irregular capture of finches in Spain because it did not comply with European regulations. The Spanish government then requested an extension for the fulfillment of the bird directive obligations and proposed a road map until 2018 to capture about two million finches and guarantee the captive breeding of songbirds, which included the gradual reduction of number of captures.
The Commission accepted this agreement, but detected that there were irregularities in its application, so in 2017 it sent a letter to the Government and initiated an infringement procedure. A year later, the second notice came in the form of a reasoned opinion in which the Spanish administrations were given a period of two months to put an end to the situation. Specifically, the Commission referred to Andalusia, Aragon, Castilla-La Mancha, Extremadura, Galicia, La Rioja, Madrid, Murcia, the Valencian Community and the autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla.