Friday, December 3

Hunting continues on La Palma despite the volcano eruption

More than two months after the beginning of the eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano, on the Canary Island of La Palma, the situation remains unchanged. Most of the population has become accustomed to the shocking images of lava making its way between houses, roads and banana plantations. For weeks, the news about the natural phenomenon have opened newscasts and starred in gatherings, with a single certainty on the table: the outcome is unpredictable, as the volcanologists warn. It is time to study the situation, learn from the volcano and, above all, wait.

While all this happens, there are those who are not willing to wait. Hunting, in its various forms, has continued on the island. Beyond the specific suspension of small game hunting in the municipalities that are in a situation of maximum alert due to their proximity to the volcano, hunters have continued to practice their favorite activity, regardless of the extreme vulnerability that the animals face. that live on La Palma.

With the aim of stopping the hunting activity, the APADEVI association recently brought before the court to the Cabildo de La Palma a request for extremely urgent precautionary measures to be adopted. The objective: to try to avoid “the very serious and irreparable damage that hunting activity could have on ecosystems, the conservation of habitats and the maintenance of the biological potential of the species in the natural environment after the eruption of the volcano.”

The letter recalls that “the number of animals killed or displaced to other places is unknown, some of them injured or with impaired defense powers.” In the same way, it considers that “it is possible that they are even forced to concentrate in certain places fleeing from the lava flows, being totally unprotected or crowded together, where the hunters would end the lives of the grouped animals, causing a terrible ecological imbalance”.

The matter has fallen to the Contentious-Administrative Court no. 1 of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, which does not seem to share the theses of that organization. In an order, the judge explains that there is no such urgency to justify the adoption of an extraordinary measure of that nature, so it proceeds to process it as ordinary precautionary and not as very precautionary. A substantial difference, since the latter is agreed immediately and without transferring it to the other party, while in the case of ordinary precautionary measures, it is given a period of 10 days to present its allegations.

As the association explains, one of the requirements to agree to a precautionary measure is what in law is called the periculum in mora or danger in default. That is, the damage that may be suffered if it is not adopted. “Greater damage, as well as the possibility of causing irreparable damage, would justify the adoption of the very precautionary measure,” they explain. “Every day that hunting is authorized, the damage suffered and the lives lost will be absolutely irreparable,” they warn.

Fortune days

Gloria Moreno is a member of the Seprona in Lanzarote and knows like few people the hunting situation in the Canary Islands. In conversation with Nietzsche’s El Caballo, he points out that he speaks in a personal capacity, and not on behalf of the Civil Guard. “In my opinion, the volcanic area in which the ashes are falling should enter what the law calls ‘days of fortune’. They are those in which it is understood that game species do not have the same defenses as in the days normal. Exceptional situations, such as when there is a severe drought, a flood or a snowfall. Days in which, therefore, hunting should not be authorized. ”

Specifically, the days of fortune are included in article 42 of the Canary Islands Hunting Law 7/1998, which establishes that “hunting is prohibited on days when, as a result of fires, epizootics, floods, droughts and other causes, the animals are deprived of their normal powers of defense and forced to concentrate in certain places. ”

Regarding its work in controlling the activity of hunters, and beyond what is happening in La Palma, “there are several things that grind. First, hunting is allowed in natural areas where there are endangered species. extinction, which does not seem very understandable, “admits Gloria. “Ferret hunting is also allowed, something that has been prohibited in other Autonomous Communities. And also, it is allowed to kill what is considered feral animals, something that is left to the hunter’s discretion and not based on an ethological report. In other words, if a cat or a dog wanders through the natural environment without identification, they can be killed. The same thing happens with goats when they do not wear a croton: it is allowed to kill them with weapons, with a dog and with a bow, “he denounces. “That is not to mention the abandonment of dogs, which there are many when the hunting season ends. There are also offending hunters, whose practices harm not only the animals, but also the environment and, ultimately, the entire society. “, he concludes.

The kings of the islands

Teresa García does not think the same. She is the spokesperson in the Canary Islands for the NAC Platform (No a la Caza) and one of the activists on the islands who most fight for copper against hunters. She is very clear about her opinion about them. “All they do is harm,” he asserts. “In my opinion, hunting itself is bad, because all they do is kill animals for pleasure, but if they at least comply with the law … The fact is that they do not.”

“From the outset they don’t have their chip dogs, which would be required of any other citizen. They are kept in the worst conditions imaginable, crammed into cages built with pallets, often on public land like ravines or caves. When it rains, those dogs they get the worst of it and die by drowning by the dozens. If they feed them once a week it is already a lot, and hardly any remains of food or stale bread. They do not have clean water at their disposal, but rather dirty puddles, which causes let everyone suffer from severe diarrhea. ” A whole rosary of cruelty against which activists like her fight. “It is disheartening, because the authorities are clearly on their side,” he laments. “Often when we do a rescue, they warn the hunters that they are already out there prowling the crazy animals.”

To the day-to-day lives of activists like Teresa, a very widespread practice among hunting lovers is added: in the Canary Islands, as in all of Spain, the raising of animals for the enjoyment of hunters is common. “They raise animals to introduce them irregularly into the ecosystem and to be able to hunt them”, explains Teresa. “It is something very common with species such as partridges, ferrets or rabbits, and it is carried out in the so-called ‘hunting farms’. It is terrible to see how Tragsa, which is the same company that raises and releases these animals to be hunted, then picks up the abused and abandoned hunting dogs that end up in shelters that they themselves manage. That is, the hunters themselves produce the animals that they later kill, subsidized with everyone’s money and supported by the Cabildo, which has no intention of ending their practice. ”

There will come a time, sooner or later, when the La Palma volcano stops roaring. The inhabitants of the island will have to take stock of the damage, rebuild their lives and start over after a tragedy like few that are remembered in the archipelago. For the victims of the hunt, living there will remain the same hell as always, no matter how cold the lava is.

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