Difficult, this Sunday morning, to hear the songs of the canaries, ring-necked parakeets or “blue rump” sold on the bird market on the Ile de la Cité, in Paris (4th arrondissement). They were covered by megaphone speeches and heated discussions between supporters and opponents of the domestic bird trade.
In the wake of its previous requests to the mayor of Paris, the young but very active association for the defense of the animal cause PAZ (Paris Animaux zoopolis) organized a protest. Objective: to put pressure on the town hall to obtain a ban on the sale of live birds which takes place every Sunday on the site of the “flower market” on the Place Louis-Lépine.
“Paris must set an example and prohibit the sale of living beings on this site”
“It’s a municipal market”, attacks Amandine Sanvisens, president of PAZ, in front of an audience of fifty activists who brandish banners and panels in the form of birds. “Paris must set an example and prohibit the sale of living beings on this site,” insists the head of the association.
“The town hall has launched a major rehabilitation program for the flower market. We must take advantage of this work to modify the regulations of the future market to prohibit the activity of birding, “continues Jacques Boutault, former mayor (EELV) of the 2nd arrondissement and now deputy to Ariel Weil at the town hall of Paris-Center. “We are told that it is a tradition … But all traditions are not made to be preserved”, loose the elected in support of the demonstrators.
A tradition preserved since 1860
Preserving “a tradition that has existed since 1860”, however, is the argument put forward by bird breeders who came until last summer to sell “surplus from their farms” on the road. On the sidelines of the “official” market where only 5 animal sellers have a location … and in violation of the municipal bylaw which prohibits these sales assimilated to street scams.
The “official” market brings together only 5 sellers who have a location there. LP / BH
They too have mobilized their troops. They are about thirty – including one in a giant bird costume – to try to sensitize passers-by to their cause, a few meters from the PAZ demonstrators. “Since 2004, we were tolerated here”, assures Bernard Gasmann, 76, secretary general of the Regional Ornithological Union, amateur breeder in Gonesse (Val-d’Oise) and used to the bird market since 1980.
“We are not traders but passionate about birds”
“But the day after the municipal elections, this summer, the town hall officers came every Sunday to chase us away. So we don’t come anymore ”, adds Issan, another Parisian amateur breeder who does not understand the criticisms of the defenders of birds. “We are not traders but passionate about birds that we take care of and that we raise to make competitions”, he insists.
A few meters away, Cécilia Delvaux, one of the traders who has an official location under the glass roofs of the flower market, continues to serve her customers, who mainly come to buy seeds. In the midst of the two ongoing protests.
If she is not unhappy that the breeders who made her competition have been ousted, she is not reassured about her own fate. “We hear that the flower market will be completely rehabilitated. But I don’t know if I will have a place in the future structure… The town hall does not keep us informed of anything, ”concludes the shopkeeper.
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On the Place Lépine, the sound system of the activists “animalists” broadcasts from Pierre Perret. The bird cage, of course. “But what a bunch of c …”, loose a lady on the side of the breeders. The spat between pro and anti birding has obviously only just begun.