They had staged themselves hooded and armed. A breeder opposed to the presence of the bear in the Pyrenees was sentenced on Tuesday in Foix to six months in prison suspended for participating in a video in which men said they wanted to resume hunting protected plantigrade.
Rémi Denjean, breeder and former leader of the anti-bear association ASPAP, was found guilty of participating in this video dating from 2017 while the current president of the Chamber of Agriculture of Ariège, Philippe Lacube, and another defendant were acquitted by the criminal court of Foix.
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In this video, later transmitted to the media by USB key, armed and hooded men, in the manner of Corsican nationalists, had threatened "to reopen bear hunting in Ariège and to lead an active resistance against state agents".
Hundreds of attacks every year
In a second case tried at the same time and also related to the presence of the bear, another farmer was sentenced to two months suspended for threats against an agent of the French Office for Biodiversity, made on August 25, 2017. That day, OFB agents were carrying out an expertise in Saleix, Ariège, where sheep had been killed in the probable attack of a bear.
Dozens of shots had been fired, when the officers arrived and every move they made. "If my sheep failed, you would be the same," the defendant told one of the officers, referring to sheep falling from cliffs when they feel threatened.
Since its reintroduction in the 1990s, when the species was on the verge of extinction, bear predations have ignited the powder in the French Pyrenees. Every year, hundreds of attacks on herds are recorded. Farmers are compensated, but opposition to the bear is growing. In 2020, three bears were killed by man in the Pyrenees and plantigrade advocates are asking for their replacement, with new bear releases. The last one was in 2018.