No respite for badgers!

A provincial decree on May 30 allows, again, an additional time for hunting honey badger, from May 1.uh June to August 15 in Loire. A necessary regulation for the province and the hunters but unreasonable under the LPO Loire and the FNE. Especially because it was so cruel, against the association that the referral to the Lyon Administrative Court was denied on 20 June.

Are badgers harmful enough in the Loire to regulate it that much? © LPO Loire

The theme is repeating. It returns almost every year on the provincial table. However, “The badger, as far as we know, has an inscrutable taste, satirical Patrick Balluet, territorial president of the LPO (Federal Protection of Birds) Loire. So we definitely don’t hunt it to eat it! » Contrary to what its name suggests, its association does not seek to protect just birds but all biodiversity. In addition to the LPO Loire FNE (French Natural Environment) Aura, it has again embarked on legal proceedings to have a provincial decree on May 30 repealed allowing an additional hunting period. subterranean badger, 1uh June to August 15.

This practice involves chasing, with burrowed dogs, honey badgers while approved hunters – an operation overseen by the Hunting Federation – dig until they reach them first. when banishing them using… metal pliers and then finishing them off with gunfire, if not with knives… What did our Loire honey badgers do to deserve such a fate? “That’s the root of the problem: it doesn’t seem like muchassured Patrick Balluet. We do not dispute that there may be damage here or there to plants or burrows that interfere with certain activities: we are ready to intervene to move them, find solutions. But when we asked for exact damage figures to prove this, we got no response. »

A species not classified as a pest

The extension of hunting rights during the province’s summer time or not follows the advice of the Department of Territories Department of DDT in conjunction with farmers and the Hunting Federation. We have asked the county of Loire several times to factor in Loire damage waves from this species – it is also not considered a potentially damaging species: ESOD (e.g. “harmful”) – would thus justify the command . Futile. According to Patrick Balluet, it is clear that: “It is an excuse to shield the desire to prolong leisure activities in the summer as much as possible. It makes them happy, that’s all. At the department’s hunting and wildlife committee in May, we learned that our protests do not require hunters to justify themselves. “It’s a huntable species, we hunt it.” » The DDT launched a public consultation in May via the web into the additional phase of underground airfare.

“Damage? This is an excuse. It amuses them, that’s all.”

Patrick Balluet, President of LPO Loire

According to the LPO, this would cause 491 contributions to be withheld, of which 92.46% were deemed unfavorable. Even in doubt on this point, the association admits to a strong mobilization of sympathizers on the subject, it finds in it a “Flagrant denial of democracy”. “By allowing this period to be extended, the province therefore allows the hunting of untrained and unresolved honey badgers, a step that is against the law. (article L. 424-10 of the Environmental Code) “prohibit destruction (…) of the litter or young of any mammal for which hunting is permitted”). » because, adds LPO president Loire “Even if some children are weaned at the beginning of summer, it all depends on their parents. Have to wait until the end of September and beginning of October, all of them are gone. We’re not talking about rats here! »

Unfinished procedures

In parallel with the appeal with the mentioned associations as well as AVES and ASPAS to request the cancellation of this authorization in its entirety, the Lyon Administrative Court had to rule on an attack in summary proceedings. (urgent procedure). According to the decision made on Monday, June 20, the judge in the chambers denied the request of the three associations under consideration. “That they did not provide evidence that digging up the badger over a longer period of time affected the conservation status of the species in the Loire.”. However, note the association “the judge did not rule on the harm caused by the exhumation of young people who were not emancipated during this period, and this may justify the urgency our associations present.”.

Unfinished procedures: “We have challenged the decree on merit, so that the hunting of badger with thin boards underground no longer systematically persists every year. In other departments (Haute-Garonne, Marne, Haute-Vienne), case law has been made in favor of saving the species. France was one of the last European countries to persecute badgers with barbaric tricks from another era! It was also the only one who allowed them to excavate during the full reproductive period of the young compared to the rest of Europe. » In March 2022, the Minister of Energy Transition responded on this subject to Isère Guillaume Gontard’s EELV Senator about the cruelty of underground honey badger hunting. It declares, among other things, that “Underground hunting is an ancient hunting activity that is strictly monitored and controlled”.

“It can be dangerous to health”

More: “The badger has a behavior and lifestyle that does not easily allow for population control activities. Indeed, it is mainly nocturnal and spends most of the day in its cave. Hunting is allowed only during the day (one hour before sunrise in the departmental capital until one hour after sunset), control of populations of this species is possible only during the day. this time. Permission to control populations of this species is necessary because badgers can damage hydraulic or transport infrastructure as well as damage agricultural equipment (gallery collapse due to machinery travelling). via). »

Controlling the population of this species is essential.

Barbara Pompili, Minister of Ecological Transition in March 2022 in the Senate

According to the ministry, “It can also pose a health risk to livestock through transmission of bovine tuberculosis. However, the honey badger is a fragile species with a low reproduction rate, which is why regulations have been developed to better regulate this practice. As a result, the decree of 18 March 1982 regarding hunting was amended in February 2014 to make it mandatory to use non-injurious pliers to clamp the neck, legs or torso of animals. Moreover, to limit his suffering, he immediately killed the captured animal before it was released. It also allows for better monitoring of the weapons used to kill people (winged weapons or proprietary guns) and provides for the termination of excavations in the event of the presence of a protected species. guard and within 24 hours of hunting, restore the dig site. »

Law changes to reduce cruelty

The ban on the organization of championships and competitions, as well as the possibility for the head to suspend or revoke the package certificate in case of non-compliance with regulatory requirements, have also been added. A new amendment was made in April 2019 to limit the pain caused to the animal by prohibiting the caught animal from being exposed to barking or dog bites, before it is killed. Pursuant to the February 2014 decree, “Unwarranted conduct on the part of crews may be reported and must be reported to hunting agents, with penalties to be imposed. »

How many badgers are there in Loire? Are they threatened? “Hard to say. We are working but need timePatrick Balluet replied. What we know about the numbers comes from the hunters. » Their estimate, according to the LPO, would provide a stable population of a few thousand of the approximately 300 individuals removed each year by 28 approved hunting “teams” operating in the Loire. “The badger, like all species, plays a role in the ecosystem: omnivorous, it is ‘useful’ by eating insects, snakes, earthworms, occasionally scavengerPatrick Balluet emphasized. It’s always there: why adjust it? »

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