WILD animal charity Aspas is campaigning against the practice of boar hunts in enclosed spaces, with powerful fighting dogs.
After trying, and failing, to get the authorities to stop one of these fights organised in the Var recently, the charity has gone to court over what it calls “an act of cruelty” and “barbarity”.
In what Le Monde says is a “new practice” in France, organisers fence off enclosed spaces of a few hectares in which boars are kept. They are then chased by large hunting dogs of the dogo Argentino breed before being backed up against the fence and torn apart as hunters watch.
Aspas president Pierre Athanaze said: “The wild boar doesn’t have the slightest chance. It gets devoured, for the spectators’ enjoyment.” Afterwards the meat is not even edible, because too many toxins have been released due to stress.
Aspas said in a statement that the venue, at Signes in the Var, has been holding such hunts for several years, and it tried to alert the authorities this time, but was ignored. “The state officials didn’t think it worth bothering with”.
Now the charity is taking action citing “serious abuse and cruelty towards a captive animal” and claiming that using dogos, known for their powerful jaws, to “put animals to death in such a way is totally illegal”.
It says there are “risks of profound suffering and a slow death, both for the dogs and the boars and “Aspas intends to shed light on these practices, so as to stop them for good.”
Videos of such hunts can easily be found, by typing “dogue argentin chasse sanglier”, it adds.
However the owner of the premises where the hunts take place states in Var Matin that they are “just a hunt like any other”, and “especially appreciated by the young”.
She added: “We’re hunting professionals and do things according to the rules.”
The dogo Argentino is a crossbreed, notably between a Cordoba fighting dog and a great Dane, developed for hunting wild animals like pumas or boars.
It was not included in France’s official lists of “dangerous” breeds and according to Le Monde hunting with them is banned in open spaces but French law allows a lot of leeway for hunts in enclosures – “dogo owners therefore come from all over Europe to appreciate the prowess of their dog”.