“A person who dies outside the hunting activity, accidentally or intentionally, but with a hunting firearm, is not in the statistics. We especially focus on knowing how many sexist murders have been carried out with them, but nobody has that data. ” This is how the parliamentarian Carles Mulet summarizes for El Caballo de Nietzsche what has happened with his question in the Senate about the human victims of hunting. A response from the Government that was so ambiguous that many media interpreted it as the data for 2020. A year in which, due to confinement, they should be better, as hunting has decreased. Therefore, from Damn Hemeroteca they delved into public statistics to find out the data, but the count is partial.
According to these data, in 14 years, from 2007 to December 2020, there were at least 63 people who died and 483 injured in hunting accidents. Data that does not include the figures for the Basque Country and Catalonia and is limited to firearm accidents in hunting activities. In addition, by pulling the newspaper library it is easy to verify that many are not reflected. For example, there are zero fatalities in A Coruña when a simple search for headlines in a search engine shows a fatal accident in Vilalba in 2012 and another in Ordes in 2010. The same occurs with Granada, where it does not appear either but at least there was a fatality in 2015 or in Cantabria in 2017. It occurs in a similar way in provinces where, according to government data, there has only been one fatal accident and looking for more appear: in Malaga there is only one deceased and at least two have been disseminated, one in 2012 when the victim was a game ranger and other in 2016, with a poacher. It is not difficult to continue finding cases in other provinces such as Castellón, Teruel or Huesca.
Not only the headlines contradict the official data provided to the Senator of Compromís and a member of the APDDA (Parliamentary Association in Defense of Animal Rights), but the largest hunting insurance company also does it. According to data from Mutasport published by the Hunting Federation of Castilla y León, from 2001 to 2017 there were at least 82 deaths and 123 injured victims among its policyholders. In addition, based on the total number of licenses granted in Spain, they estimate that the real data may be 656 deaths from firearms and more than 80,700 accidents with injuries. A count made over 16 years, two more than the data provided by the Government and in years with more pre-Covid hunting activity.
Victims not counted: gender violence, falls or heart attacks
In addition to not being counted how many victims of gender violence have died from hunting weapons, there are also no people who have been injured or died while hunting, but not directly from shots, such as falls or heart attacks. “These are figures that must be accounted for and I understand that no one wants to pursue this issue, which involves a lot of money and many interests. It is not on anyone’s political agenda,” explains Mulet, adding that public opinion is only surprised when there are fatalities. . “There is no control – he adds – who controls that minors go, what is hunted, if they hunt protected animals, there are not enough environmental agents to control this.”
In this sense, the spokesperson for the NAC platform, David Rubio, that you can even go further when it comes to seeing the full picture of the consequences of the hunt. Like traffic accidents. “There is a percentage of collision accidents with animals that occur when they flee from the shooting of the raids. When it was changed the law in 2014 removing the responsibility from the hunting grounds for these road accidents, they increased “, he comments, while indicating that even if the driver circulates correctly, the fault will be his, only with the exception that there has been a major hunt up to 24 hours before the accident. “As if a wild boar knew if the hunting permit is against him or not when he flees from the shots and crosses a road,” he ironically.
From NAC, who keep an eye on the news that come out around hunting, they emphasize that many fatal accidents include people who have nothing to do with that activity. “Many injured or deceased are cyclists, walkers, people who were picking mushrooms or who were even harvesting. We also see many cases of dogs walking with humans who have been shot,” he says. One of these last cases is that of the triathlon athlete Francisco Montiel, who an hour and a half before starting a competition was shot three times while warming up. “I did not want to believe it. That 20 meters from me there was a man hunting, near the road,” he explained. to Marca newspaper.
Fewer licenses, more security zones in urban centers
As “implausible” describes Aïda Gascón, director of Animanaturalis, that with so many human deaths, even minors, no one acts to prevent it. “There are many deaths,” he explains. “In Catalonia, for example, the regulations of the castellers to wear a helmet minors only with one case of a minor injured. Just attending to the dangerousness. And it doesn’t happen in hunting. “Asked about what his organization proposes to limit, at least, human victims, Gascón aims to reduce the number of licenses to avoid a concentration of hunters in the same area, increase breathalyzer and drug tests and control the capabilities of people with gun licenses. “Licenses are given in a very cheerful way,” he says.
From Animanaturalis, in addition, they anticipate that they are preparing a campaign that will come out at the end of this year or the beginning of the next one to limit the percentage of territory that is hunting ground, since it is currently greater than 80% of the entire state extension. It will be done by increasing the security zones near urban or peri-urban centers and remember that this would prevent many of the accidents that affect people that have nothing to do with hunting. This would have the competence of the municipalities and would benefit, according to this animal rights organization, not only people, but also the environment (by reducing the presence of lead and other forms of contamination related to hunting) and wild animals ( that they would have safe spaces in the field).
This campaign would focus on the coexistence problems that exist between hunting activity and any other that takes place in the environment. “The coexistence of hunting with sport and leisure is not regulated right now”, explains Gascón. Something that from associations like Ecologists in Action They have long denounced the ‘ad hoc’ privatization of the countryside when the hunting season opens. “Hunting conditions the passage of people and removes contact with animal species, limiting multiple activities that are environmentally responsible, “he explains in the ‘Non-hunter person’ card campaign.
This coincidence between ecologists and animalists is pointed out by the antispecies collective NOR. “There are environmental groups that are in the same line many times because they look for other alternatives to the death of animals, although there are also environmentalists who defend that the population is reduced even with hunting. But I think that little by little the discourse is changing because there are alternatives and it is positive, that we are making ourselves understood and knowing that we have more coincidences than differences. “This group, which works in the Euskal Herria area, indicates that although the victims Humans of the hunt are one more argument to end it, it should not be the greatest. “They must be non-human animals. What is important is that these figures reflect that hunters are dominating areas of both animals and other humans and it has violent consequences. ”
A Subsidized Deadly Activity
“One of the pretexts to get more licenses is the control of animal populations,” they explain from NOR, and they point out that in places like Navarra ranchers and hunters ally themselves to end the supposed invasive species, which are often introduced by the hunting activity or fur. “They join forces to supposedly safeguard the animals that they have locked up and exploited. It is that just for having a cattle farm you are already receiving public aid in case you lose a head. Then licenses are also given.”
In this sense, the Senator from Compromís recalls that hunting is also a “subsidized activity”, since many receive public funds by passing as cultural associations and others are subcontracted by the Administration to carry out hunts against wild boars or other species. “Qualifying hunting as a sport is like qualifying bulls as culture”, he indicates, and explains that “it is only a sadistic activity that consists of enjoying killing animals.” “50 years ago – he reflects – it could be understood when the leisure options were very limited, but not now. Even if you like to shoot, you can do it with plates or do pinball.”
Asked the NAC spokesperson if he considers hunting a sport, he responds: “Many of these hunters are given a hunting post, they are given a weapon, they are not controlled for drugs or alcohol, nor does it involve any physical exercise. call it in many ways, but sport, no “. “There is no sport in Spain that causes as many deaths or very serious injuries as hunting,” he concludes. “There is no plan to tackle this issue because it would be to acknowledge the problem,” concludes Carles Mulet, who recalls that the far-right parties are set up as defenders of hunting and that there have even been proposals in the Senate of the PP or the PSOE in support of this activity. Even as the economic engine of emptied Spain, something the senator defines as “nonsense.”