unearthing prohibited in the Orne this summer

Good news for badgers: the administrative court of Caen has suspended the digging up of badgers in the Orne until September 15. Wild animal protection associations welcome the end of this cruel exercise.

Following the ban on the digging up of badgers in thirty-eight departments, such as Aube, Charente, Ardennes, Meurthe-et-Moselle, Loir-et-Cher and Somme)another legal action had been taken by the ASPA (Association for the Protection of Wild Animals) and AVES (Acting for Living and Wild Species). She just wore sfruits in the Orne.

Despite the absence of scientific data on the badger population in the department, the court revealed nnecessary to order the suspension of the decree of May 16, 2022 of the prefect of Orne, which authorized an additional period of underground hunting from July 1 to September 15.

“A lot of births took place in early February. Badgers are still dependent on adults and need to be protected,” defends Manon Delattre, lawyer at ASPAS, the Association for the Protection of Wild Animals. The Court justifies this decision by the absence of health risk of contamination and propagation of bovine tuberculosis by hunting dogs.

The badger is a mammal protected by the Bern Convention – a convention on the conservation of European wildlife and natural habitats. However, it can be hunted with a rifle during the legal period which extends this year from September 15, 2022 to January 15, 2023. It is also possible to hunt it by venery underground during the additional period of opening of the hunt.

Unearthing, also called underground venery, is a traditional and cruel practice. The principle of unearthing is to violently extricate a badger from its burrow after hours of stress for this animal.

Once the burrow is found by the hunters, they will rip out everything in their path so that their hunting dogs can easily access the entrance. In this case, the badgers are stuck in their burrows and confronted by the dogs. Then, the hunters extricate the badgers using large metal tongs, seizing them by the neck or by a paw. Badgers therefore defend themselves before being slaughtered with knives or rifles. And badgers are usually eaten by dogs.

On the website of the National Federation of Hunters is reminded that “Underground hunting is subject to strict regulations. And this method is preferable to any other chemical or mechanical method which would therefore be incompatible with an ecological vision. »

Despite multiple successful actions by associations, the departments that have suspended this hunting practice remain a minority in France.

Unearthing will resume in September, when hunting is generally open. To raise awareness of the cruelty of this practice, ASPAS launched the first edition of World Badger Day on May 15 this year.
The two animal associations are calling for a total ban on this method of hunting in France, which is already the case in many European countries, such as the United Kingdom, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland and even Portugal.

To put an end to what they consider to be cruel nonsense in France, ASPAS and AVES are launching a request filed on the Senate website. Objective: to obtain 100,000 signatures by the end of September.

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