The Ministry of Agriculture "strains" the arguments of the hunters in the evaluation of the state of the quail



This Friday, technicians from the Ministry of Ecological Transition and the communities review the situation of one of the most emblematic birds of the Spanish fauna: the quail. With an opinion of Scientific advisory committee on the table that asks to classify it as endangeredthe Ministry of Agriculture has derived a counter-report promoted by the hunting sector.

Although Agriculture sources explain that by not participating in Friday's meeting it is not up to them to "pronounce on the reports presented", they admit that, having the competences in "coordination of hunting activity", they have received "complementary studies" from "various regional authorities and scientific organizations. And they mention the work of the doctor in Biology of the University of Lleida Jesús Nadal García.

Nadal García, who accumulates numerous publications on hunting in general and quail in particular, is a kind of head scientist for hunters who fear that, if the protected status of quail ends up being decreed, they will not be able to shoot them in the preserves. Both the Hunting Federation and the Artemisán hunting lobby are based on a report prepared by this researcher to affirm that, far from going through problems, the species is "in good condition". They called him to work Coturnix Project.

The professor at the University of Lleida did not like the request submitted by SEO-Birdlife to include the quail in the Spanish Catalog of Endangered Species. Last January, he signed a column in the newspaper New Square on account of this petition in which he said: "There is no scientific data to support the decline of the quail". And then he added that "only with cooked data, misrepresentations and perverse interpretations, this conspiracy against the field can be fabricated."

These two hunting organizations have mobilized to influence the assessment process and prevent possible designation of the quail as a protected species. In this line, they have accused the Scientific Committee of the Ministry of Ecological Transition, whose advice is collected by law, of ignoring "the scientific community". Because cataloging an endangered species in Spain is not an easy path. It involves covering several stages. Once an application is accepted, a technical evaluation is required, carried out by the Wild Fauna and Flora Committee, made up of technicians from the Government and the communities.

For this, the regulations provide that the committee can consult with the Scientific Committee. In the case of the quail, the advisers have unanimously approved an opinion that considers it proven that this species is in danger of extinction. And it is in this phase where the Ministry of Agriculture makes appear, among others, the work developed from the University of Lleida by this professor and that contradicts the criteria of the advisory team designated by the regulations.

With this panorama, the technicians will be seen this Friday at the headquarters of the Ministry of Ecological Transition. Precisely at the gates of the Ministry, this Thursday –24 hours before the meeting– directors and representatives of the hunting federations have concentrated to deliver a document requesting the resignation of the third vice president Teresa Ribera. They say it promotes "anti-hunting policies."



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