French officials are allowing game hunters to be exempt from lockdown restrictions so that they can tackle the growth in numbers of wild boar and roe deer.
According to national newspaper Ouest-France, the decision was made by the State Secretariat for Biodiversity and announced on Sunday 1st November.
The exemption has reportedly been justified by the fact that the State wants to avoid the proliferation of wild boar and roe deer, which would cause damage to crops in the spring.
Secretary of State, Berangere Abba, said in a statement: “During this period of confinement, we must avoid an increase in damage to crops, forests and property by a proliferation of populations of large game such as wild boar or deer.”
According to the president of the French National Hunters Federation, Willy Schraen, between a third and a quarter of big game are hunted in France in November.
Schraen said: “Normally, for wild boar alone, 500,000 of them must be killed before the end of the year. Can you imagine if we don’t go hunting!
“That’s 500,000 more wild boars on the territory, maybe as many roe deer, which can cause damage in the fields in the spring.”
“I don’t want it to be said that the hunters steal anything and continue to hunt, that’s not what we asked for. But if we don’t go, how are we going to do it?”
The national newspaper Le Figaro reports that every year hunters have to pay millions of euros in compensation to farmers for damage caused by wild boar.
Shraen adds that discussions are underway with different departments of the country and could concern six or seven species that could cause problems including rabbits, hares, pheasants and pigeons, depending on the area.
A similar decision in the UK caused public backlash when exemptions were announced to the rule of six to allow big groups to go hunting.
Shadow environment secretary Luke Pollard said in a statement: “It shows where this government’s priorities really lie.
“It is clear there’s one rule for the Cabinet and their mates and another for the rest of us.”
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Story By: Ernest Bio Bogore, Sub-Editor: Marija Stojkoska, Agency: Newsflash
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