The controversy for or against hunting has left the social debate to land in high political spheres encouraged by the statements of the Minister of Ecological Transition Teresa Ribera in favor of prohibiting it with the bulls. The hunters, astonished, because they considered that the Socialist Executive supported their activity, responded with a tough open letter signed by the president of the Artemisan Foundation, Luis Fernandez, in which Rivera is labeled as "irresponsible and ignorant". The Minister of Development, José Luis Ábalos, came out in defense of his partner last Sunday and cataloged as "casposa" a Spain in which everyone has to be "hunters or bullfighters."
The PP, party traditionally in favor of both activities, did not wait and Pablo Casado responded on Monday defending the bulls, hunting and fishing in a conference. In this scenario, the popular ask the PSOE in full Wednesday to clarify their position. The controversy has been unleashed after VOX will be openly in favor of hunting in the Andalusian electoral campaign, from which he derived so much revenue, with a rally included in Córdoba.
Hunters are aware that the social sensitivity towards hunting activity has changed. That is not well seen. Juan Delibes de Castro, biologist, hunter and head of the TV channel Caza y Pesca for 15 years, agrees that it is worse understood "probably because the society has become very urban and he has left the field. " Remember that when he was little, the boys that went hunting in the town, among which he was, and they got some piece like a partridge were treated like heroes. "Now you're a murderer, you enjoy killing," he says. One of the lies he complains about is the one that points to the hunters like people who abandon their dogs. "There is some decerebrate as in all sides, but it is a minority," he says.
The drop in licenses – from 1.4 million in 1990 to 826,777 in 2016 – shows a downward trend, which also faces a slight generational change as it is not an activity that attracts young people. Even so, the number of catches amounted to 22 million in 2016, of which 3% were for big game and 97% for small game. That year, 2.2 million large and small game animals raised on farms were released to reinforce hunting in hunt sites. Of them, 1.8 million were partridges. Of those that are no longer almost wild, as Fernando Martinez, a 68-year-old hunter notes, "I have been between 25 and 30 times this year and more than half of them have returned without any ", Explain. He assures that he and his companions are aware of the state of the species and if they see that there is almost none, they stop hunting them, even though they have permission to capture 20.
Martinez recognizes himself in the old school, in that which consisted of following his father through the countryside "looking for our lives and kicking the coto". Although occasionally participates in an eye, which is to beat a field by scouts without dogs to scare the animals and direct them to a line of hunters sheltered posts, or moves to other countries to beat other pieces. He has also perceived the growing pressure against the collective. "You can see that it is worse seen, there are cyclists who believe that everything is theirs, but they do not realize that they are in preserves and that we have every right to hunt there," he says.
The president of the Royal Spanish Hunting Federation (RFEC), Ángel López Maraver, assures that "for two years the hunting is subjected to a daily and continuous radical persecution". The bombing, he adds, occurs mainly in social networks "where we are constantly mistreated, we are treated as murderers, as barbarians, but it is a legal and regulated activity". Maraver defends hunting, as well as being an economic engine, as a fundamental tool for the management of an ecosystem "absolutely affected by man". In Spain 87% of the territory is declared hunting territory (43.8 million hectares divided into 32,817 preserves, of which 82.6% are private). The sector moves 6,765 million and maintains 186,758 jobs per year, says the report IEconomic and Social Impact of Hunting in Spain, prepared by Deloitte with 2015 data for the Artemisan Foundation, in which the RFEC participates.
The conservationist associations and the Animalist Party (PACMA), at the opposite pole, criticize an activity, which "is based solely on the appetite of a limited group of people who enjoy the simple fact of killing animals," argue from Ecologists in Action. "What is happening now it's just the tip of the iceberg of a problem that has been worsening for years, "explains Miguel Ángel Hernández, expert on species of the NGO. The controversy is due, in his opinion, to the change of mentality that is taking place in the social perception of the relationship with the animals "of greater respect".
Silvia Baquero, president of PACMA, is satisfied because she considers it "very important" that the debate to prohibit hunting and the bulls – pillar of her electoral program – has been incorporated into the political agenda of other parties. Although it has been, in his opinion, because "PP and PSOE have been thrown into the bush to hunt votes, dragged by VOX and an electoral interest." Baquero argues that VOX detected the trend and "by getting involved in that flag, a response has been generated." The party still has not obtained parliamentary representation, but in the last elections it obtained 286,702 votes for the Congress and 1,213,871 for the Senate.
Hernandez says they have tried to build bridges with the hunting sector. "We looked above all to see that their actions were more sustainable and that they moderated." But, "the truth is that hunting has been geared towards an increasingly intensive, more interventionist model of habitats and species, with farms in the that pieces coming from farms are released so that nobody leaves without their trophy. "And that's where the environmentalist places the focus of the problem, the president of the RFEC stands out from that type of hunting:" That does not belong to the Hunting management is a production method that generates income within the rural world and the sale of meat. "But, as long as it is" legal, we have nothing to say ".
Eduardo Zapata breeds partridges in Mendigorria (Navarra). "About 300,000 a year", concrete, which sells to the preserves, especially to Castilla-La Mancha and Extremadura. "The red partridge is a species of ours that attracts many foreigners: Europeans, Venezuelans, Russians … I have even met people who came from Zimbabwe or Namibia." Zapata has not noticed any setbacks in his business, he even now sells eggs to England. On the contrary, he thinks that in the villages with a hunting culture, where they are accustomed to go hunting and take the meat home "what they see as abnormal is that they talk about forbidding their practice".