Le Figaro Lyon
The animal protection association One Voice initiated at the end of May a summary procedure against the authorization of badger hunting, called badger veneration underground, in the Rhône. The association denounces a "cruel and blind" hunt whose practice knows an additional period from May 15 to August 15. An injunction rejected this week by the administrative court of Lyon which considered in particular "that it is not established" that the prefectural decree extending the hunting period "would cause a sufficiently serious attack on the preservation of the badger".
No danger to the survival of the species
This decision goes against other French administrative courts. Seven similar prefectural orders have been annulled since the beginning of the year, including by the administrative courts of Clermont-Ferrand and Poitiers, both of which considered that the presence of badgers, the badger's cubs, during this period is contrary to the environmental code which states that "it is forbidden to destroy, remove, sell, to purchase and transport litters or offspring of any mammal whose hunting is authorized, subject to the provisions relating to animals liable to cause damage.»
We kill badgers, whose burrows are attacked, because they are accused of damage to agriculture or roads, while this animal is protected in other countries, "says Muriel Arnal, president of One Voice. For its part, the prefecture of the Rhône ensures precisely to have authorized this hunting because of the damage that the animal can cause on corn, wheat or wine crops but also on road or rail infrastructure. Uncompensated damage, unlike that caused by wild boars. According to the statistics of the prefecture, 55% of the damage caused by these animals is earthworks damage, 40% is related to crops, 4% to wildlife and 1% to livestock.
123 badgers killed in the Rhône in 2022
For its part, the hunting federation of the Rhône ensures that the practice is particularly supervised. "In fact, not everyone can practice veneration underground. There are 21 crews in the department approved by the State who intervene only after a report of damage, "says Antoine Herrmann, the president of the hunting federation 69. For the latter, "in the fund, it is not the period that is criticized but this type of hunting as such. But no one among the hunters wants to undermine the survival of the species. In fact, we have very precise statistics on the number of annual catches, which allows us to know how she is doing."
In 2022, 123 badgers were killed in the Rhône. They were 122 the year before and 115 in 2020. "It shows that populations are stable. If there were not all this data I would be less serene but, there, we see that we act on request without affecting the populations, "concludes the president of the federation. An argument criticized by One Voice. "The truth is that the damage is never clearly established. There are aberrations with disproportionate amounts or even false facts such as attacks on herds, "says Nicolas Yahyaoui, lawyer in charge of campaign at One Voice. In all, about thirty proceedings against badger hunting are underway or have taken place this year in France.