Tuesday 20 September 2022 | 2

6 NGOs are going to court against badger digging in the AURA region!


Mis à jour le 01 December 2022

Pressure has gone up a notch regarding underground badger hunting with hounds in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. Several animal and environmental protection associations: ANIMAL CROSS, ASPAS, AVES France, FNE AURA and its departmental federations, LPO AURA, and ONE VOICE, have joined forces and have just filed no less than 8 appeals against the opening of the additional digging out period, a barbaric hunting practice already authorised from September to the end of February, in the Spring. A step further in the long-term fight towards a total ban on hunting badgers.

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Ain, Allier, Cantal, Drôme, Loire, Haute-Loire, Puy-de-Dôme, Rhône, Savoie, Haute-Savoie… The list of departments whose prefects continue to authorise additional periods for digging out badgers in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region is still far too long.

This medieval hunting practice consists of sending dogs into the badgers’ setts to corner them, digging out the earth with the help of shovels, pickaxes, and lead bars, often for hours, then dragging the terrorised animals out of their shelter with the help of large pincers to then slaughter them with a firearm or knife (see the images that speak for themselves on this subject from the infiltration investigation led by One Voice at jaimelesblaireaux.fr).

As unbelievable as it may seem, this practice is still authorised in France, from 15 May on the simple decision of the prefect. Yet in this period, the baby badgers are still dependent on their mothers, defenceless and destined for certain death. When they have not simply been torn to pieces by dogs in battle... these extensions of the hunting period are all the more unacceptable since the damage caused by the badgers supposed to justify such barbarism has never been proven. Incidentally, 83% of French people are in favour of a ban on hunting animals inside their burrows, whatever species they may be, and up to 91% during the breeding period (IPSOS/One Voice survey, September 2021, https://www.ipsos.com/fr-fr/seul-1-francais-sur-5-est-favorable-la-chasse).

Our associations have therefore gone to court to contest the prefectural decrees allowing additional periods of underground hunting with hounds in the Ain, Allier, Cantal, Haute-Loire, Puy-de-Dôme, Rhône, and Savoie departments. These legal actions are in addition to the many others that have been initiated for several years in the AURA region, as they have elsewhere in France. And this long-term rallying is starting to pay off: more and more jurisdictions are cancelling these additional badger hunting periods, to the point where the prefects are quite simply giving up on authorising them, as in the Ardèche or Isère departments in 2022. No doubt that the newly appointed judges will themselves respect baby badgers’ rights and will cancel the contested decrees.

These appeals are only one step in a long fight for associations opposing underground badger hunting with hounds. Because it is this cruel practice of recreational hunting that we hope will be banned in the long-term. In very localised places where badgers are susceptible to causing damage or interfering with human infrastructures, there are alternative solutions to move the animals away without massacring them. Badger hunting is not effective in the fight against bovine tuberculosis (even counter-productive in this matter). Underground hunting with hounds is cruel and barbaric. It is about time this outdated practice be abolished, as nothing really justifies it other than it being the hobby of a few people who enjoy making defenceless animals suffer unnecessarily.

Hope is possible as changes are happening. On 10 September, the ASPAS petition — supported by all of our associations — for abolishing badger digging passed the 100,000 signatures needed for it to be considered by the Senate. The hope is therefore that our country is finally entering into the twenty-first century and will leave barbaric underground hunting with hounds behind.

Prefectural decrees attacked:

  • Ain: FNE AURA, FNE Ain, LPO AURA.
  • Allier: FNE AURA, FNE Allier, LPO AURA, One Voice.
  • Cantal: FNE AURA, FNE Cantal, LPO AURA.
  • Loire: FNE AURA, FNE Loire, LPO AURA, ASPAS, AVES France.
  • Haute-Loire: FNE AURA, FNE Haute-Loire, LPO AURA, ASPAS, AVES France, One Voice.
  • Puy-de-Dôme: FNE AURA, FNE Puy-de-Dôme, LPO AURA, One Voice.
  • Rhône: FNE AURA, FNE Rhône, LPO AURA, One Voice.
  • Savoie: FNE AURA, FNE Savoie, LPO AURA, Animal Cross, One Voice.

Translated from the French by Joely Justice

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Comments 2

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Joyce | Friday 23 September 2022

Barbaric.

trochu | Wednesday 21 September 2022

Scandaleux, et comment peuvent ils en toute bonne conscience, agir ainsi envers les blaireaux qui sont des animaux êtres vivants pacifiques et comme tous autres animaux et qui ne dérangent personne, rien que ce procédé est à vomir. J'espère que vous obtiendrez tous gain de cause dans vos recours auprès de la justice, qui elle, doit faire preuve d'empathie et de grand respect de tous ces animaux, en interdisant définitivement une telle chasse immonde et non pas "juste temporairement".