The hunt has caused almost 1,000 accidents of different types in Spain between 2007 and 2022. Of these incidents, 57 have ended in death and around half a thousand have led to injuries of different considerations. So far this year 2022 throughout Spain there have been 8 injuries and the death of one person during the course of hunting activities. As a result of these data, provided by the Comprehensive Operational Management System of the Civil Guard, the experts and several NGOs, such as the Franz Weber Foundation, express their total opposition to the intention expressed by the Ministry of Agriculture to encourage hunting among minors old.
Defended by a large group -in Spain there are at least 725,000 hunting licenses issued- and criticized by many others, hunting has become one of the most controversial activities in our country. Those who defend it consider it a traditional act that is being lost and needs to be promotedas they assure that it helps to conserve nature, control overpopulation and is a way of generating wealth in rural areas, while preventing damage and accidents caused by game animals (wild boar, roe deer and deer) in agriculture and on the road .
However, environmental groups and scientists believe that hunting encourages the opposite. In the latest report by Ecologists in Action it is made clear that hunting does not serve to manage fauna or control overpopulation. In fact, a Supreme Court ruling states that “hunting and fishing, far from serving the purpose of eradicating cataloged species [como exóticas e invasoras]Rather, they determine its indefinite maintenance, if not the aggravation of the current status quo, making it difficult, if not impossible, to eradicate it”.
As psychologist Virginia Portillo defends, “the way in which hunting is carried out does not allow species to be controlled for many reasons.” This expert in the mental processes that influence violence highlights that during hunting activities there is no discrimination between males and females, the population density is not measured before, during and after hunting, and “it is not controlled if it attacks or kills unauthorized species.
Nor is it compatible with the conservation of biodiversity, given that each year ends up with 20 million animals, according to the latest data provided by the Ministry of Agriculture. Bearing in mind that approximately 80% of the national territory forms part of a hunting ground -46 million hectares of the more than 50 million that Spain has-, Ecologistas en Acción considers that, furthermore, this activity is not benefiting the rural world, but hindering the possibility of taking better advantage of it, since this type of activity directly interferes with any other formula for the enjoyment of the natural environment.
concern for minors
Based on these data, the international NGO Franz Weber Foundation has highlighted its concern that the new hunting strategy of the Ministry of Agriculture -which is in the consultation phase- includes actions to promote hunting in young people. Specifically, through its almost 150 pages, the document details proposals so that the hunting activity has long-term continuity, through the incorporation of young people and women into hunting and other activities within the sector, the promotion of associations, the dissemination and protection of the cultural values of hunting and the promotion of new opportunities for the professionalization of the sector.
In several autonomous communities they can obtain the license to shoot with only 14 years, which favors the presence of minors in activities with the risk of death or disabling injury, according to the critics of said activity.
In addition, as the powers are transferred to the autonomous communities, there are regions such as Cantabria and Castilla y León, where incentives have been promoted (with reductions or total reductions in fees for obtaining licences) for minors. In the Cantabrian case, the regionalist government is considering authorizing children of any age to accompany adults during hunts.
“If we normalize violence, if we endorse it, if we subsidize it from the State, if we give an open letter to bear arms, to kill animals, the society we are building is one of violence and it cannot be another”. This is how La Portilla summarizes it, which alludes to the existence of multiple scientific studies that confirm “the affectation at a psychological level and in the very architecture of the brain in girls and boys exposed to situations of violence.” According to the expert, this violent activity can “cause severe traumas very similar or equivalent to those suffered by victims of physical abuse.”
But it is not only the psychological consequences that concern the groups that oppose this practice. And it is that in recent years, the victims of the hunt are also being children. An example of this is that of the hunter who ended the life of a four-year-old boy in a hunt in Guillena (Seville) while accompanying his father in one of the shooting posts, or the 13-year-old minor who received a fortuitous shot in Villalba de los Alcores (Valladolid). There have also been cases of minors as executors of accidental or negligent shots, such as the one that ended the life of a father during a raid in Azuaga (Badajoz).
For this reason, Portilla invites “urgent reflection” taking into account the state of development of the new regulation that the state government is preparing: “It is time to decide if we are walking towards the society that we want to live in and in which they will live. future generations,” he says.
The hunters, against the “animalist drift”
The hunters, for their part, They not only defend that minors can have direct access to hunting, but also see a danger in the new contents favorable to animal welfare that are foreseen in the new ESA and Baccalaureate curriculum.
As reported a few days ago by the Spanish Hunting Federation, the new regulations include the concept of ‘animal rights’ or ‘animals as sentient beings’, which represent “a new attack on the hunting sector and a unprecedented indoctrination of animalismprotected by the Government of Spain”.
In ESO, the concept of ‘animal rights’ is included in the subject of Civic and Ethical Values and that of ‘sentient beings’ in Biology and Geology. This fact “not only will it make hunting practice impossible, but it will condemn the rural world through a change in the social model”, stated the president of the Federation, Manuel Gallardo.
The Hunting Federation wants these issues not to be addressed “from the animalistic perspective” and that, in addition, “the vital importance of hunting activity is made known from the economic, social, environmental and cultural point of view.
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