The death of a 25-year-old man shot by hunters as he chopped wood at his home has sparked a petition calling for tighter controls on when hunts can take place.
Morgan Keane (pictured right) was shot dead in Calvignac, Lot, last year.
A group formed in his memory, Un jour un chasseur, is calling on members of the public to back its campaign and petition to make Wednesdays and Sundays hunting-free.
The petition is on the Senate website. If it collects 100,000 signatures within six months, it will be sent to the Conférence des Présidents, which decides what is to be debated in the Senate. So far, 45,602 people have signed.
The group points out that hunting on Sundays has been illegal in the UK since 1831, and it is also forbidden on Sundays in the Netherlands, as well as in several German states, Swiss cantons and Spanish regions.
It says 400 accidental deaths in 20 years, plus an average of 158 accidents a year reported to the gendarmes, are too many, and it is unacceptable that countryside lovers should feel unsafe going out during the hunting season.
Un jour un chasseur was set up by six friends of Mr Keane. One of them, Mila (none of them wishes to give surnames), told The Connexion it will be a struggle to change the law.
“Last year we were full of hope when we were invited to meet Environment Minister Bérangère Abba. But when she told us even one non-hunting day would be impossible, we realised how difficult it would be. However, we won’t give up.
“We think it is important that this becomes an issue of public debate.” She says the group’s demands are reasonable.
“We are not asking to stop the hunt. Non-hunting days, plus stricter hunting licence rules, is a minimum to ask in the light of all the people who have died.”
Un jour un chasseur invites anyone who has been a victim of a hunting accident to tell them by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. They will post the stories on social media.
The Fédération nationale des chasseurs said hunters do everything they can to lower the number of accidents and in 20 years the number of deaths has decreased by 71%.
President Willy Schraen says the Federation welcomes efforts to improve safety for other users of the countryside but opposes hunt-free days.
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