Hunting: the breeding of shame

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ASPAS, an association for the protection of wild animals in France, denounces through a video the miserable life of pheasants and partridges raised to be hunted.

If you live in the country, you have probably met these haggard pheasants, wandering in the middle of the roads. According to the National Union of Game Hunters, 14 million pheasants and 5 million partridges are produced each year in France. In what conditions ? The ASPAS, a recognized public utility organization that has been working for more than 40 years to protect wildlife, reveals behind the scenes of these "bird factories".

Shot for several months in 9 farms located in the Allier, Drome, Gard and Isere, the images first show reproductive pheasants, cloistered in tiny concrete and wire mesh enclosures. Then zoom in on an obscure building in which hundreds of young birds are pawing. "No light, otherwise they eat between them," says the breeder. To remedy this, he has a paraphernalia of plastic instruments to place on or in the beak, such as the ring that perforates the nasal septum and passes between the mandibles, or the "Italian cap," clipped into the nostrils .

After 1 to 3 weeks, here are the pheasants and partridges relegated to an outside aviary where they are supposed to become familiar with "nature". A loud noise and it's the panic movement. The birds crash into the fences. "Pheasants are 2 to 3 pairs per hectare, details a breeder. On average, they have 2.5 m2. Caught in the hand or in the net, the animals are stored in transport boxes, at the age of about 20 weeks. "Dropped on Friday, hunted on Saturday! Those who can not kill them, they will almost pull them into the boxes, "says the breeder. If some survive the trap, "they die of unsuitability to wildlife, for want of finding food, to defend against predators, etc.," says Madline Rubin-Reynaud, president of ASPAS. The communication efforts of hunters praising the repopulation fail to hide the reality: almost all releases of pheasants and partridges take place a few hours to a few days before seeing the rifles arrive. On the heels of its survey, which counts more than one million views on Facebook, ASPAS has launched a petition calling for the ban on animal breeding for hunting.

Contacted by Paris Match, Thierry Coste, political adviser of the National Federation of hunters of France, replied: "We did not wait for ASPAS to understand that we had to change these practices! Before long, these images should no longer exist. The artificialisation of the land has led to the release of fire. The position of the Federation, which is very new and very annoying the agricultural world, is to fight against the use of pesticides, neonicotinoids, glyphosate, to reintroduce small game and conserve wild game. Our first concern is to succeed in this influence on agriculture and no longer have to use artificial means to hunt. In the hunting reform that we have initiated, we have put on the table the engrillations and releases of game that we want, with Willy Schraen, the president of the Federation, largely transform. We met the breeders so that the breeding conditions of the birds are improved. Our goal is to return to a natural hunt, this is the political line of the Federation for 3 years. There is a real demand from new members who want to hunt less, but better. We must privilege the release of repopulation made several months before the shooting, so that the animals adapt and can reproduce to give back a wild strain ".

Away from breeding, ASPAS works to preserve wild animals by sanctuary areas of life. "As the planet goes through what scientists call 6e mass extinction, less than 1% of the national territory benefits from protection for nature (National Parks, Nature Reserves, etc.), says Madline Rubin-Reynaud. Even in these protected areas, hunting and logging are most often allowed. Habitat destruction, indiscriminate harvesting, lack of large predators, disturbance and impoverishment are cutting down entire areas of our biological diversity. " To mitigate the environmental emergency, ASPAS has created 4 Reserves of Wildlife® (RVS): 1 in the Côtes d'Armor, 2 in the Drôme, 1 in the Hérault, for a total surface of 700 hectares . Today, a fifth reserve, sponsored by actor and director Jacques Perrin, should be created in the Vercors to give wolves, deer and eagles 500 hectares of nature. Provided the association closes the budget by December 18. "There is urgency, we only have 450,000 € to raise on a total of 2,350,000 €, Madline Rubin-Reynaud warns. We are appealing to patrons and all good souls because the goal is now at your fingertips! "

More information on aspas-nature.org

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