Controversy in Andalucia over future of hunting

by Lorraine Williamson
hunting in Andalucia

Hunting has become a topic of debate in Spain. Especially in Andalucia, where it is an important economic driver. Reason for the ministry to want to boost hunting. 

According to the regional Ministry of Sustainability, Environment and Economy, the sector brings in €3.5 billion in the south of the country alone. Moreover, hunting employs some 45,000 people and attracts people to rural areas in the region, says Ramón Fernández-Pacheco, who heads the department. However, hunting is at the centre of controversy due to ongoing clashes with the animal rights sector. Furthermore, the sector has fallen into decline, which is why the regional ministry wants to revive hunting.  

Currently, it is thought that there are around 250,000 registered hunters in Andalucia. That means there are far fewer licences than there were a few years ago. Consequently, that is why the Junta de Andalucía is trying to get young people interested in hunting with a number of policies. 

The aim of the regional environment ministry is to change the perception of hunting in the main cities. Althought it is of the opinion that certain media carry out a smear campaign against hunting. 

What measures will Andalucia take to encourage hunting? 

Andalucia’s regional government wants to revive hunting and is looking into various measures. The main challenge is to bring the sport closer to young people. Ideas include introducing days dedicated to hunting, setting up specific learning areas in each hunting reserve and even using public land to encourage hunting. 

And it is precisely this last measure that is causing the most uproar. Various sections of society, mainly leftist or with ideological views on animals, have expressed their displeasure with this measure. And more specifically, about the introduction of young people into this universe. This package of measures will encourage first-timers to train with more experienced hunters. And offer temporary licences at affordable prices in an attempt to attract new enthusiasts. However, the Junta de Andalucía assures that it is not only trying to introduce young people, but also the urban population to hunting, as a form of leisure activity. Another goal is to improve the national image of hunting and protect the reputation of hunters.   

Monitoring nature 

Another important measure is to involve hunters in monitoring the situation of both nature and animal species. The Junta will try to improve information channels through voluntary registers in which hunters themselves can provide information on the situation of species or provide data on various phenomena that may affect hunting activity. 

This will therefore, make it possible to collect first-hand information on the status, number of individuals, reproductive processes or diseases of different species.  

Pursuing hunters and controlling pests 

The Junta de Andalucía’s programme of hunting reform in the region also aims to prosecute hunters who do not comply with the rules and cast a shadow over hunting. Another objective is to combat pests that can cause diseases in pets and even humans. Not so long ago, the killing of Vietnamese wild boars and pigs was supported after it was found that their populations were out of control and posed a great risk to society. 

Political landscape 

The departure of the PSOE from the Andalucian government has led to clear support for hunting in the region. Hunters, however, want to avoid political positioning and be allowed to pursue a hobby that they consider ‘necessary’ for the proper functioning of the environment and nature. The ministry’s aim is to approve the new plan before the end of the year. 

Also read: More than 12,000 hunting dogs discarded in Spain in 2022

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