A petition launched by the president of France’s hunting association that criticises the “violent actions” of animal rights groups has reached over 100,000 signatures in under six months, meaning it must now be reviewed in parliament.
Willy Schraen of the Fédération Nationale des Chasseurs (FNC) submitted his petition to the Senate on February 15.
It criticises certain associations for “inciting hatred against legal activities” and campaigning “sometimes with violence against rural and traditional activities such as hunting, fishing or livestock farming”.
Mr Schraen calls for a parliamentary review into the actions of the associations and greater controls on their activities.
He also asks for a review of the associations’ tax statuses. In France, people can claim tax deductions on donations made to certain charities and associations, a point that Mr Schraen feels is unfair when the associations are “harassing companies or individuals” and “spreading hate” against them on social media.
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Animal rights organisation L214 Éthique & Animaux and an anti-hunting social group have criticised the petition for being a stunt to distract the public’s attention from issues linked to hunting.
A spokesperson for Un jour un chasseur, a group that was launched to speak out against the dangers of hunting after 25-year-old Morgan Keane was killed by a hunter’s bullet while standing in his garden in Lot (Occitanie), called the petition a “waste of time”.
They said that the petition does not concern their group as they are not an association but that it is still “proof in action” of what the collective denounces.
“This is a way of silencing the voice of [hunting] victims and is a useless action to waste everyone's time – journalists, senators, signatories, and others,” they told The Connexion.
“It is just to divert the debate away from the real problem of public safety, which hunting is a threat to.”
Un jour un chasseur launched its own petition on the Sentate’s platform last September, which quickly received over 100,000 signatures.
The group is calling for increased protections to avoid the “deaths, violence and abuse linked to hunting” and also for hunting to be banned across France on Wednesdays and Sundays every week.
A senate report on the Un jour un chasseur petition is expected to be published at the end of July.
The spokesperson also implied that Mr Schraen’s suggestion that donations to anti-hunting associations should not be tax deductible was hypocritical.
“There are 70,000 hunting associations in France that receive state subsidies in the name of being ‘general interest’, and whose members benefit from tax advantages even though they regularly commit acts of violence, intrusion and damage to private property.”
A spokesperson for L214 Éthique & Animaux also dismissed Mr Schraen’s petition.
“It confuses harassment with real debate. He is just seeking to stifle opposition views.
“He wants to cut off the money to associations who question the ethics of practices such as hunting, fishing and livestock farming,” she said.
L214 Éthique & Animaux is known for publishing brutal videos showing livestock being raised in poor conditions. Their activism is viewed by some in France as going too far.
But the L214 spokesperson denied this, saying, “we are not engaged in acts of violence or harassment, we just want to bring facts and reality to the debate”.
“The videos we publish are difficult to watch but that is just because people today cannot bear to watch the reality of how animals are farmed.
“All we try to do is show the reality that farming and meat industries try to hide.
“We do not obtain the videos through illegal means, they are taken by people who have access to livestock farms and who are shocked by what they see.”