One summer morning I took a walk with Mica. I came across a woman that in one go said, «my husband loved animals, he was a hunter…». Astonished, I tried to make her see the absurdity of her words, without success, and I decided to continue walking, outraged with the world. The defence of hunting seems to be an inherent and unquestioned part of rural life.
Dating obtained at el Salt, a nearby Palaeolithic site that belongs to the municipal district of Alcoi, shows human occupation 60 000 years ago. Neanderthals used to hunt horses, deer and wild goats, possibly rhinoceros too, 45 000 years ago (1). Benilloba’s Carta Pobla (town charter) of Sept. 7th of 1611 comprises the conditions given by Antonio Ximénez de Urrea, the eleventh earl of Aranda, to new settlers after the Expulsion of the Moriscos. Among its terms: «peixcar en lo riu com en los hullars y bracals y altres qualsevol regalies sent com son de sa s(enyori)a haJen de restar y resten propies del dit Señor Compte» (fishing in the river as well as in the streams and wells and any other royalties that, as they belong to this lordship, have to remain and are the ownership of the aforementioned Lord Earl) (2).
So, hunting has been taken place in this territory since prehistoric times. However, it is no longer a necessary task for the survival of human beings or an essential part of the local economy. Gone are the days when wild game was the main source of animal protein available to the locals, mainly farmers.
I have had talks with local hunters, some more civilised that others, of course. They tend to defend their right to kill animals based on tradition (shall we go back to the Lord of Benilloba imposing death by hanging at les Forques?), population control (experts in ecology talk about the inner mechanism in animal populations that leads to their natural increase or reduction), or the defence of nature (goodness me! their aim is the biggest possible booty of dead animals).
The Conselleria d’Agricultura (Valencian Ministry for Agriculture) declared in July 2017 the following as hunting species: common snipe and jacksnipe, mallard, gadwall and pintail duck, greylag goose, lapwing, woodcock, Iberian wild goat, garganey and common teal, common deer, quail, rabbit, carrion crow, roe deer, northern shoveler, European starling, common pheasant, Eurasian coot, fallow deer, jackdaw, black-headed gull, yellow-legged gull, wild boar, Iberian hare, mouflon sheep, feral pigeon, wood pigeon and stock pigeon, red-crested pochard, red-legged partridge, common pochard, wigeon, turtle dove, magpie, redwing, song thrush, mistle thrush, fieldfare, as well as the fox. SEO/Birdlife argues that the Generalitat Valenciana has ignored scientific evidence and has instead allowed hunting of species in a delicate state of conservation (3).
There you have it, my dear ladies, the hunter is master of the land. He can open the local hunting season without adequately informing and warning his neighbours; he can step everywhere and leave residue behind such as the white plastic pieces that his weapon spits out with every shot. Not to mention the garish metal and plastic shells that many shameless scumbag hunters ‑not all of them‑ leave or the lead metal that, in hundreds of thousands units, has been polluting the same land of almond and olive trees that feeds human beings. Let’s take a look at some figures: within the Spanish territory there are close to 3 million weapons, 75% are shotguns; cotos de caza (hunting grounds) occupy 83% of the country; each year 25 million animals are killed and 6 000 tones of lead are released in the environment (4).
There is the legislation on the subject (5) though in my experience where I live it is rarely followed to the letter. As an example, it is forbidden to hunt during breeding season, to leave behind any non-organic residue, to walk toward human beings with a loaded weapon and to break the safety distance. This Sunday, August 13th, marks the start of the media veda (half-shooting season). The morbid pleasure of a few ‑not even 2% of Spain’s population‑ will prevent the vast majority of society from enjoying a country walk without fear or shock each Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and public holiday.
Once somebody invited me to go hunting and I remember with horror the infernal noise that shotgun made. I cannot forget the brainless joy of another hunter, proud to have slaughtered a young wild boar not even three-months old. And their dogs? most of them poor animals spending months locked up in a casa de aperos (a small countryside storage building) or tied to a chain once the veda is over ‑not to loose the killing instinct, they say‑. In my opinion, hunting lovers are people suffering from a pathology that makes them gain pleasure from violence and blood. Spanish society brings them wide protection when instead it ought to provide them with psychological help.
It was not my intention to deliver an expert analysis on the rights of the so-called «wild animals», rather to express my opinion against hunting. May your conscience rule, if you choose to remain in the dark ignorance and to defend theories of centuries already past, instead of choosing to form a reasoned opinion via the multiple sources of extensive and multidisciplinary information that are available to everybody:
#noalacaza #stopcaza #nocaça #stopcaça #nohunting #stophunting
(2) Cortés, Josep, transcriptor: Commemoració 400 aniversari de l’otorgació de la Carta Pobla Benilloba 1611-2011. Ajuntament de Benilloba i Diputació d’Alacant, 2011.
(4) http://www.expansion.com/fueradeserie/cultura/2017/02/28/58b402dae2704e3d188b456b.html. http://www.ecoavant.com/es/notices/2016/12/el-alto-precio-de-la-caza-2747.php. http://faada.org/entretenimiento-caza-ecologia. http://www.elespanol.com/economia/empresas/20170720/232727276_0.html. http://m.deia.com/2017/08/08/sociedad/estado/la-caza-se-cobro-mas-de-19-millones-de-ejemplares. https://blog.pacma.es/2017/caza-es-violencia/.
(5) http://www.dogv.gva.es/portal/ficha_disposicion_pc.jsp?sig=5890/2004&L=1. http://www.dogv.gva.es/datos/2017/07/21/pdf/2017_6743.pdf. http://www.agroambient.gva.es/web/medio-natural/caza. https://www.dogv.gva.es/datos/2017/07/21/pdf/2017_6743.pdf
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