Monday 13 June 2022 | 0

Badgers will not be dug out in Haute-Garonne this summer!


Mis à jour le 31 August 2022

One Voice filed a request to the Toulouse Administrative Tribunal on 20 May to urgently suspend the Haute-Garonne prefectural decree authorising an additional period for underground badger hunting with hounds from 15 May this year in their department. We will win for these badgers: the urgent applications judge suspended the decree on 13 June 2022!

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This was urgent. The badgers were going to be massacred deep in their setts, where they feel safest, in the period when they are raising their young (babies that are weaned but not yet independent). All of this during four months with no limit on numbers, while the state of their population is being ignored... there was therefore a risk of jeopardising it.

According to Muriel Arnal, Founding President of One Voice:

« Badgers are protected in numerous countries such as England, Wales, the Netherlands, Denmark, Greece, and Hungary. It is implausible that, every year in the majority of departments, hunters succeed in lengthening the hunting season, which is already too long and unbearable for the animals as it is for those who love nature; all this to have something to do in the summer when they cannot shoot and the earth is loose and easy to dig. »

Consulting the public who are kept totally in the dark...

What did it matter to the Prefecture when providing the necessary elements to be able to form an opinion during the public consultation for their draft decree...?
Everyone, to make an informed opinion, should have the means to judge a project with concrete information. Especially those enabling an assessment of reality and the extent of the damage attributed to badgers, the state of their population in the department, as well as the repercussions of the order on the environment... but where are they?!

The young still in the setts and unlimited hunting

On the other hand, the Prefect has not only authorised the hunting of an unlimited number of badgers, but what is more is that they have done it during the reproduction period and the scientifically proven presence of young still in the setts in this period (an argument rarely listened to by courts in the past) without proving that there will not be an impact on the equilibrium of the species. We know however that a litter of badgers is rarely more than two and that their weaning time is a lot longer than it is for other species. These are therefore an animal whose population is growing very slowly. A combination which could turn out to be harmful for badgers in Haute-Garonne.

The order did not even purport to defend farmers with the hypothetical excuse of damages

It is not the agricultural interests of the department that are being defended here — since it is not a question of damage to crops — but the private interests of the hunting hobby of underground badger hunting with hounds in the spring... a frank power-lobby collusion to the detriment of the animals.

Badgers are good neighbours!

Lastly, badgers often cohabit in the same burrows as other animals, such as foxes, wild cats, or European otters. The last two are threatened and therefore protected. This implies that the setts ripped open by hunters in search of outdoor activities in the summer could have endangered these even more vulnerable animals.

The violence of underground hunting with hounds is equal to our pleasure to be able to save badgers!

We are delighted with the decision of the urgent applications judge at the Toulouse Administrative Tribunal, after the one in Corrèze. The Haute-Garonne badgers will be saved this summer. But we can only regret that the prefects stubbornly want to flatter hunters’ cruel desires and fantasies.
Because so-called ‘small-game hunting with hounds’, which consists of locating badgers in their setts, ‘terrier’ dogs being sent into the tunnels then digging abruptly, thus ripping open the woodland or the field concerned with no hesitation in slicing open the tree roots if they are impeding the diggers, features among the cruellest of hunting practices. The animals have no chance of escaping. As we well know with our investigators having led an undercover investigation some time ago alongside a crew and having brought back supporting footage.

Since 2018, we have been calling for a radical hunting reform consisting of around ten measures including a ban on underground hunting with hounds. We are also calling for a ban on badger digging in particular. Continue to sign these petitions! And do not forget the one on the Senate’s website.

Translated from the French by Joely Justice

Julia Mothé
Hr blog

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