In three days, two men were seriously injured in hunting accidents. A young man, Thursday, October 28, on a busy walking path in Haute-Savoie. A driver hit in the neck, Saturday 30, on the road between Nantes and Rennes, in Ille-et-Vilaine. “There is no such thing as zero risk, that’s how it is”, defended Willy Schraen, president of the National Federation of Hunters, Monday 1er November, on Sud Radio, while apologizing. According to him, there is ” very little ” accidents of this type in a year, especially when the victims are “Non-hunters”.
In fact, the overall trend in hunting accidents is on the decline. “In twenty years, we have divided by four all accidents, whether fatal or bodily”, assured Willy Schraen. Figures difficult to update with periods of confinement. The number of accidents has “Decreased by 41%, compared to its 1999 level, and remains below the general average of the last twenty years which is 158 victims per year”, noted the French Biodiversity Office in its annual review in 2020.
While these accidents did not elicit a reaction from the executive, they fueled relations between hunters and environmentalists in the context of the presidential campaign. The environmental candidate Yannick Jadot relied on the Haute-Savoie accident to propose “The ban on hunting on weekends and during school holidays”, going further than the program of his party, Europe Écologie-Les Verts, which is limited to a “Strict supervision” of the activity. It is necessary, he explained, that “Everyone can access nature, enjoy it, be it hikers, joggers, cyclists, families, children”.
To call for a collective awareness, the MEP is inspired by European examples, recalling that hunting is prohibited on Sundays in Great Britain. There are also, in Italy, “Already two days a week without hunting” and an abolition referendum in preparation, he added. The Italian Constitutional Court has yet to validate the 500,000 signatures recently collected and required to trigger the ballot.
This is not the first time that the question of a day without hunting has been asked in France. In 2000, the ecologist Dominique Voynet, then minister of regional planning and the environment, even had a weekly rifle-free day adopted every Wednesday. The measure was repealed in 2003 by Roselyne Bachelot, Minister of Ecology, however leaving the prefects the possibility of establishing it at the departmental level.
With his proposals to ban the hunting of protected species and to leave breeding for hunting, it is more broadly the issue of animal welfare that Yannick Jadot is pushing into the debate. What other candidates are also doing, such as Anne Hidalgo or Marine Le Pen. In September, an Ifop poll indicated that this cause could influence the vote of one in two French people in 2022.