Thursday 15 June 2023 | 9

Hunting during lockdown: special privileges for hunters were illegal

Hunting during lockdown: special privileges for hunters were illegal

Mis à jour le 26 July 2023

During lockdown, the country came to a halt, but special privileges for hunters did not stop. Throughout the long months, even in the most isolated places, it was impossible to leave the house without proof as to why. But in several departments, prefects agreed to exemptions for hunters so that they could devote themselves to their ‘hobby’ despite health restrictions. The Nantes Administrative Tribunal has just ruled in One Voice’s favour against these authorisations, which were actually illegal, in Maine-et-Loire and Loire-Atlantique.

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In 2021, to cope with the COVID-19 epidemic, authorities declared a generalised re-lockdown throughout the country. For several weeks, those living in towns gradually rediscovered birdsong. Although health restrictions may have been a guarantee of peace for animals in urban areas since the first lockdown, those in our countrysides have not had a moment of respite on their side. While the decree of 29 October 2020 banned “gatherings, meetings, or activities” of more than six people, prefects from numerous departments thus issued decrees to authorise hunting despite all of this. And hunters, disgruntled that we have put a spanner in the works, has even had us attacked by the legal system!

Lockdown: a bargain to (illegally) authorise hunting

In Loire-Atlantique, seven species are classified as ‘likely to cause damage’. They can be trapped all year round and killed with guns outside of the hunting season, until 31 March or even until 10 June. In Maine-et-Loire, wood pigeons were also part of this macabre list. Pursued everywhere, for as long as possible, such is the sad fate of animals arbitrarily declared as ‘pests’.

As if this was not enough, prefects in these two departments took advantage of health restrictions to allow hunters to put these animals to death with time limit, even beyond 10 June! The reason cited? As always, damage. And, as always, there is not a shred of evidence of this so-called damage.

They did not stop there. In Loire-Atlantique, the Prefect has gone further and has even ordered great cormorants to be killed. They are a protected species? Never mind! In any case, by the time the courts decide, the animals would long be dead. And in fact, that is what happened.

Animals who should never have been slaughtered

The killing of these individuals was illegal; as the court put it bluntly: “the administration has not produced any evidence to establish that these species would be likely to cause damage in autumn 2020” to justify them being killed. New proof, if any is needed, of the totally grotesque character of the designation of animals that are so-called ‘pests’.

On the subject of great cormorants, the court was even more harsh: not only did the Prefect absolutely not show why killing them would be necessary, but he did not provide a shred of proof of the reality of this damage.

These cancellations have left a bitter taste since they were imposed several years after the killing of these animals. But today it is undisputable: foxes, beech martens, Mustelidae, rooks, carrion crows, Eurasian magpies, starlings, wood pigeons, and great cormorants from these departments should never have been killed during this period. We were right to rebel against these abusive authorisations and to fight until the end to bring them justice.

Translated from the French by Joely Justice

Maxime Lambret
Hr blog

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Comments 9

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Olivo | Friday 16 June 2023

Honte à ces tribunaux cités plus haut, pour complicité à aider les chasseurs à tuer en toute impunité, pendant la période du COVID.

Myrtille | Thursday 15 June 2023

Ces assassins ont tous les droits !¡ J ai habité, pendant 15 ans en campagne. Je les ai vus à l œuvre !!! Surtout après le repas du midi bien arrosé.... Des minables... Bien des fois, je les ai affrontés...

Marie | Thursday 15 June 2023

Tout simplement MERCI à vous pour votre travail et la défense de nos animaux

A | Thursday 15 June 2023

Lamentable et honteux cette sous population de barbares protégée par un État intéressé et dépourvue d'éthique. Mais les politiques vendraient leur âme au diable pour préserver leur électorat, c'est connu !sombre époque destructrice, malfaisante et pourrie