Who are the hunters?
With about 850,000 practicing individuals, France is the number one country in Europe in terms of practitioners. The usual figures relayed by the Fédération Nationale des Chasseurs (FNC) (National Federation of Hunters) in the media are much superior and absolutely not representative of reality. In actuality, these correspond to the number of people owning a hunting permit, which is easily explained by the fact that numerous individuals have more than one permit in order to hunt in several departments.
The number of hunters diminishes each year. In the 1970s, hunters were 2,5 millions.
These individuals are scattered in 80,000 hunting societies, which account for a ludicrous average of 840 per French department and 2 per French municipality!
It is important to note that the traditional stereotype of hunters, that is a farmer who hunts a rabbit on Sundays, is not representative of reality anymore: more and more hunters live in cities and nowadays farmers account for a mere 10%.
Hunting doesn’t or rarely attracts young people, thus the average age of hunters is ever increasing.
25% of hunters are between 45 to 54 years old, 40% are 54 years old and above, 5% are less than 25 years old, 8% are between 25 and 34 years old (source: CSA 2006).
The official reasons they use for perpetuating their practice is being in contact with nature (99%!), socialising (93%) and the maintenance of territories (88%). Evidently, nobody needs a gun to do any of these things.
Hunting federations strive to halt the decrease of their members. In the last few decades, the number of hunters in France has drastically diminished.
Their only however potent source of power to improve the situation is to make good use of their vast political influence.
We have identified two main means of action they use:
– School interventions to recruit young members: we are talking about children, needless to say that shame is not part of their panel of feelings
Hunters visit primary schools more and more frequently. More specifically, they target children who are less than ten years old. Thus, they hope to convince malleable minds that killing and torturing is actually really fun!
On that note, beginning of 2009, the President of the National Federation of Hunters and the Minister of Education made an agreement granting hunters a labeling, which enables them to intervene even more freely and easily in kid classrooms.
They are known to take advantage of complacent school headmasters, hoping they can influence the minds of innocent, easily influenced minors.
They also shamelessly push professors to bring their pupils to institutions dedicated to hunting and nature.
The RAC is absolutely against their despicable strategy. How can the principle of neutrality be respected when they force themselves on to children in the should-be-safe-environments of education and schools? The role of the National Education is not to teach people to kill, to incite them to become violent and to forego the meaning of life. We must protect our children from this industry that knows no boundaries in the face of profit. We must forbid them from intervening in schools.
– The partial or full refund of the hunting license fees
There are many ways in which they try to achieve this: from 50% discounts, to giving it for free, to hunting for the symbolic amount of 1 EUR. In the face of their decreasing numbers, everything is made to attract people – the bigger discounts being given to young potential members.
Nevertheless, each year, numerous individuals do not renew their hunting permit. To counter this, the lobby has come up with a sponsoring system, thus adding a financial incentive to the equation. When will hunters understand that the decreasing number of hunters is not a matter of struggling financially, but a societal evolution that considers hunting a cruel, obsolete practice that can in no way be considered a morally acceptable pastime? Animal welfare has become increasingly important worldwide, especially among the younger generations for whom killing an animal for fun is nothing short of shocking.
The RAssemblement pour une France sans Chasse condemns these strategies.
Hunting is an anachronistic practice that doesn’t match our present world focused on environmental issues and the growing realisation of the need to respect all life forms. Thus it does not come as a surprise that the number of hunters decreases each year, despite all the efforts made by the lobby to prevent it from happening. The meager results they garner are ephemeral.
Nonetheless, we cannot just wait for hunters to become naturally extinct, as in the meantime more animals are getting killed. Lets fight together to end this lethal activity!