Keep Calm and Carrion

Change of Official Postal Address

Attached please find a document outlining progress in the IAF's new Brussels Office Building, a very exciting project in which all those involved are very engaged.

We look forward to welcoming you all there. Please note the official postal address change:

International Association for Falconry and Conservation of Birds of Prey, AISBL,      Rue de Flandre 31, 1000 Brussels, Belgium. Tel: 0032 468 166 330

Mail-forwarding from the old address will officially cease in the next few days.

Success in the Azores

Late last year IAF received a request from Pedro Alfonso of Associação Portuguesa de Falcoaria, the Portuguese Association for Falconry to assist in addressing a threat to Portuguese Falconry on the islands of the Azores. The Azores have legislative autonomy from mainland Portugal and were experiencing a legislative revision of the hunting law on the islands. One NGO, SPEA - the Portuguese Society for the Study of Birds, a Birdlife partner,  proposed the prohibition of Falconry using the argument that lost birds from falconry are a common occurrence and could induce environmental pollution; most species of birds of prey are “exotic” to the Azores. The number of falconers in the Azores is extremely low and lost birds were never a significant occurrence. This NGO proposal was based on prejudice.

 Associação Portuguesa de Falcoaria answered this proposal using arguments from the IAF “Position Statement and Code of Conduct for Falconry with respect to Invasive Alien Species”, recognized by the Bern Convention and it also cited the Portuguese Falconry UNESCO status. They were informed that regional deputies have doubts about decision and requested direct help from the IAF to make counter arguments to this proposal in the belief that an international response could help influence the political decision.

IAF letters were sent to the Regional Government of the Azores, the Parliamentary Groups of the Legislative Assembly of the Autonomic Region of the Azores and the Regional Board of Forestry Resources and we have been informed by President Alfonso that the threat has been removed and the new hunting laws are positive towards falconry.

These interventions are part of the on-going work of the IAF to be the international advocate for falconry and to provide a professional and authoritative voice for falconers.  What is significant is that we are achieving this and we are providing this support to falconers all over the world. This positive response from the Azores is satisfying. 

A footnote from President Adrian Lombard

"In the past 3 months, since our successful intervention alongside the Danish falconers we have:

  1. Intervened to address proposed changes to hunting regulations in the Azores which would have prevented the practice of falconry.
  2. Intervened with the Greek government to address the omission of falconry from their hunting regulations.
  3. Addressed draft changes to the Animal Welfare Regulations in South Africa through the South African Parliament which would have serious implications for the practice of falconry.
  4. Provided comment on draft regulations in Canada which will allow a wild-take in the Province of Quebec.
  5. Been working with the Pakistan Falconers Club in preparation for a forthcoming meeting with the Pakistan Minister of Climate Change.

Our organization is giving real support to falconers all over the world.  We are providing professional and informed comment which is necessary to support the continued practice and growth of our Art."

Ongoing and future problems

"These interventions are part of the on-going work of the IAF to be the international advocate for falconry and to provide a professional and authoritative voice for falconers.  What is significant is that we are achieving this and we are providing this support to falconers all over the world. 

Issues such as these arise because of a persisting antipathy to falconry which follows the DDT era when falconers were initially blamed for raptor declines.  Despite all the evidence to the contrary, these attitudes persist and are still evident within organizations such as the IUCN and within nations like Australia.

There is also a lack of understanding or a dislike for the concept of conservation through sustainable use.  This sentiment is very strong and persists despite real evidence to prove the contrary – that real conservation successes exist today because of sustainable use:

The peregrine falcon population recovery is a huge conservation success but there is still sentiment that the peregrine is endangered.  We failed to see down-listing at CITES and there have been recent claims that populations are in decline based on very weak evidence. 

The enormous conservation success in South Africa where large game animals have increased from a ½ million to over 20 million in 40 years, while they have declined in the same proportion in Kenya (where there is no legal hunting) is ignored and you will hear only outcries against canned lion “hunting” and the evils of rhino-horn trade. 

The restoration of the Houbara Bustard is the largest single species restoration project ever and is a remarkable success story.  And yet, you will see and hear nothing about it from conservationists and conservation organizations.

The influence of the animal rights movement is behind much of the legislation that we must address.  They work by playing on welfare concerns and by raising dislike of sustainable use among conservationists.  

The only way which we can counter this is through vigilance, working to enhance our standing as a reputable and authoritative organization and by providing balanced and persuasive interventions where-ever we  can.  To do this, we need the practical and financial support of falconers everywhere and we need the full commitment of the volunteer workers who are the strength of our organization.We cannot claim success in all of the examples of interventions that I have shown to you, but at least we are involved and fighting for the rights and interests of falconers."

Dr. Adrian Lombard, President of IAF

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