Date: 1st of June 2014
Of all the countries in Western Europe, it’s France that has the largest number of wild animals considered “huntable”, and it’s also the country with the longest hunting season. In addition,
many hunting methods are allowed in France that are banned elsewhere for being cruel e.g. gassing and excavation during which the animals are hunted down in their den. After a long period of tremendous stress and terror by hunters or dogs they are eventually shot or have their neck wrung, are beaten to death with a shovel or even given to the dogs alive.
Attention: this film shows disturbing footage of a foxhunt
This excavation of wildlife is prohibited in other countries such as the UK, Netherlands and Belgium.
The fox is classed as “huntable game” in France and suffers the worst from hunters. According to French law , all hunting methods are permitted and for an especially long period, contrary to
normal hunting practices:
– They may be shot during the regular hunting season,
– The “prefect” can allow them to be hunted from the first of June,
– And they have the dubious honour that they can be hunted with dogs until the 31st of March.
A simple calculation shows that in theory they only have two months in the year in which they are left in peace to raise their young.
However in addition to the status of “huntable game” the fox can also be classed as “vermin” and, in fact, is so considered in all of France except for Paris and Corsica. Because of this status they can be shot, trapped, gassed or excavated all year round.
In the North of France, or to be more precise in the “Nord-Pas-de-Calais” they make it a special event, a hunting festival with the “hard” cowboy name “Ch’tis fox days” where every possible means of hunting is allowed.
This lead to massive carnage of foxes: in the period 2012 – 2013 alone some 6,500 foxes were slain. “Ch’tis fox days” was once again planned for February 2014, but a major protest was co-
organized by ASPAS, a foundation for the preservation of wild animals, and for years a defender of the fox.
Over 1500 people assembled in Lille the weekend of the proposed massacre to demonstrate and show their dissatisfaction. As a result the damage was limited to the death of “only” 30 foxes.
However it appears that the message got across and in the future no such festivals will be allowed. You can find a fuller report about the event here
But the battle is not yet over. As long as the fox is classed as vermin, it will still be possible for hunters to kill them all year round by whatever means they like.
Something has to be done. ASPAS is doing something with a number of actions: see here for more details.
What can you do?
Well, you could choose to avoid the Nord-Pas-de-Calais and go to a more animal friendly department.
More later about Wolves in the South of France