Friday 07 July 2023 | 29

Hunting: a weapon of mass pollution

Hunting: a weapon of mass pollution

Mis à jour le 08 September 2023

A few months ago, the Fédération nationale des chasseurs (FNC) [National Federation of Hunters] was condemned for having presented its members as the “first ecologists in France” (which the French have never believed!). And we understand why: this hobby leads not only to the death of more than 25 million animals every year, but, the cherry on the cake, it pollutes the earth by depositing 6000 to 8000 tonnes of lead. This ammunition left in nature is an instant danger to the environment, animals, and humans, the dramatic consequences of which are already being seen. In Ain, One Voice found out from the Prefecture that lead shots replaced with steel ammunition in a clay-pigeon shoot had been organised in a wetland last weekend. But with checks being rare, we have no illusions about the changed course of this, knowing that this annual polluting festivity has taken place for more than twenty years on the same land.

Hr blog

From hunting to clay-pigeon shooting: a short guide on polluting activities by hunters in France

Sometimes – or dare we say often? -, hunters miss their targets. Thousands of lead bullets are therefore spread throughout the earth and water courses, making them potentially infertile and toxic, in particular for us humans. When animals feed on them, they are almost certain to die: a duck that ingests four small balls of this dense metal has a 99% chance of dying in the next twenty days. Other times, animals are affected without being killed. They have to live with shots throughout their bodies causing illnesses and infections - a body which will then be ingested by their natural predators, such as lynx, which are protected. One animal at a time, this heavy metal, a true poison, gains ground.

And it does not stop there: outside of the season, they have to be careful! There is still one activity left: clay-pigeon shooting. Shooting at a clay disk is undoubtedly less amusing than shooting at an animal. But it is “better than nothing”. This very lucrative activity in itself leads to 1,500 tonnes of lead being dispersed in nature every year.

An event in Ain that has been harmful for the environment for two decades

In Ain, the Douvres Hunting Society has been organising an annual clay-pigeon shoot in close proximity to a water course for at least twenty years. In other words, for all these years, the earth and groundwater tables have been riddled with this heavy metal... Also in this region in 2014, it was revealed in the autopsy of a lynx cadaver that it was suffering from lead poisoning because its body had more than 120 bullets in it. Having been alerted to the event taking place on the weekend of 1 July, we immediately contacted the Prefecture, who told us they got hunters to only use steel ammunition. Hard to believe, when we know that the guns used for clay-pigeon shooting are not adapted for this type of cartridge.

Beyond the pollution, this event should never have taken place. In fact, the Ain Prefect herself banned the carrying and transportation of weapons in the Department between 30 June and 3 July due to national current events. Despite this, these Sunday shooters have been able to indulge in their hobby without any disturbance!

Who knows, perhaps hunters were able to convince her that it was absolutely essential to “regulate” the clay discs...

General rallying against the ravages of hunting on nature

Of course, since February 2023, the use of cartridges is banned in close proximity to wetlands. But this measure is largely insufficient. With the European Environment Bureau, a coalition that One Voice is a member of, we are asking the European Commission to go further with the restrictions on lead in ammunition and fishing accessories. Because fish are also as important as mammals. The very survival of millions of animals and protecting human health is at stake!

As usual, hunters will do everything they can not to have to follow the rules. In January 2023, environmental police officers had apparently received no instructions on implementing checks[1]. The law? A tiny detail when it comes to pleasing a small minority who want to kill yet more animals. And they don’t stop there! Willy Schraen (FNC President) went so far as to ask for financial support from the State so that his members could replace their guns at taxpayers’ expense. The indecency clearly has no limit.

While the effects of massive soil pollution are already being felt by biodiversity and human health, it is about time we act. More than ever, it is about supporting the interests of animals, humans, and nature with one voice. Standing bravely with our partners, we will continue working to protect life on earth, for which whistle-blowers and conservationists are too often targeted. For them, for us, nothing will stop us. On 12 July at the European Parliament, we will call on Members of the European Parliament to pass the European Law on the restoration of nature.

[1] Source: chassons.com site, "Plomb interdit à la chasse: Vers un possible report?" [Lead banned in hunting: for a possible adjournment?] article of 4 January 2023: “Indeed, for the time being, no agent from the French Office for Biodiversity (OFB) has received clear instructions on the implementation of checks on the use of ammunition for which they will be responsible.”

Translated from the French by Joely Justice

Maxime Lambret
Hr blog

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Comments 29

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collectif des riverains du ball trap permanent de Ville sur Jarnioux | Wednesday 06 December 2023

Les grenailles de plomb ainsi disséminées doivent être regardées comme des déchets abandonnés. Les personnes à l’origine de l’abandon de déchets sont responsables de leur élimination dans les filières appropriées au titre de l’article L. 541-2 du code de l’environnement.

Le responsable de cette police administrative est le maire. Il appartient donc au maire d’exercer son pouvoir de police pour faire cesser les nuisances liées à la dissémination des grenailles de plomb sur sa commune.

Les propriétaires des terrains concernés peuvent également, au titre de l’article 1384 du code civil, être regardés comme responsables des dommages que ces déchets présents sur leur terrain pourraient occasionner, en tant que « gardien de la chose » en cas de dommage.

Dans le cas particulier d’un ball-trap, la responsabilité de l’organisateur du ball-trap, ainsi que celle du propriétaire qui l’a autorisé, paraissent difficilement écartables.

Collectif des riverains du ball trap permanent de Ville sur Jarnioux | Friday 01 December 2023

Extrait de "consigne de sécurité à respecter pour chasser en sécurité" de la Fédération Nationale des Chasseurs.

"Faire baisser la fièvre du sanglier"

"Depuis les années 1980, il s’est multiplié mais la fièvre du sanglier reste forte et conduit parfois les chasseurs à perdre leur sang-froid et à commettre des imprudences. Les chiffres sont éloquents : 69% des accidents en action de chasse au grand gibier concernent le sanglier alors qu’il ne représente que 49% des prélèvements. Pour établir une comparaison, le chevreuil représente 46% des prélèvements, pour 25% des accidents. Ceci est d’autant plus anormal que pour le sanglier, plus bas sur pattes que le chevreuil, les tirs sont plus « fichants » et devraient donc causer moins d’accidents pourtant aucun sanglier, fut-il celui de votre vie, ne mérite que vous mettiez en danger celle d’autrui !"

Quelqu'un peut m'expliquer ?

Collectif des riverains du ball trap permanent de Ville sur Jarnioux | Sunday 26 November 2023

Les personnes à l’origine de l’abandon de déchets sont responsables de leur élimination dans les filières appropriées (art L 541-2 code de l’environnement).
Les grenailles de plomb ainsi disséminées doivent être considérées comme des déchets abandonnés.
Le responsable de cette police administrative est le MAIRE.
Il appartient donc au Maire d’exécuter son pouvoir de police.

Collectif des riverains du ball trap permanent de Ville sur Jarnioux | Sunday 19 November 2023

Après plusieurs années que nous dénonçons les pollutions diverses du ball trap, les polluants dispersés par cette activité sont toujours sur place.
L'agglomerant utilisé pour la fabrication des cibles utilisées pour le ball trap appelées "plateau d'argile" est du brai de pétrole contenant des HAP, il suffit d'approcher une cible prêt d'une flamme pour qu'elle fonde et devienne un liquide bitumineux, voir notre alerte à France Nature Environnement ci-après: https://sentinellesdelanature.fr/alerte/28405/