Massacre of over 500 deer and wild boar in Portugal confirms necessity to regulate hunting

13 januari 2021

The Portuguese animal rights party PAN (People–Animals–Nature) has strongly denounced the killing of 540 animals by 16 hunters in Portugal last month and has called the Minister of Environment and Climate Action to account. ‘Killing for joy and sport is simply inhumane and represents a serious civilizational setback’, PAN states. ‘It is simply unbelievable that such a massacre has been authorized in an area of such great ecological sensitivity. Hunting has clear negative impacts on biodiversity, wild life protection and animal welfare.’ The party therefore keeps advocating strong regulation of the hunting sector in Portugal.

More than 500 deer and wild boar were slaughtered by Spanish hunters who lined up their carcasses in Azambuja, some 40km (24 miles) from the Portuguese capital Lisbon.

The mass killing, which came to light as some of the hunters proudly posted pictures of their catch on social media, has prompted outrage in Portugal and abroad. According to the deputy mayor of Azambuja, the district of Lisbon where the massacre took place, the animals were in a fenced-off area and had ‘nowhere to run.’ ‘There is strong evidence of a crime against the preservation of fauna,’ said the Portuguese Institute for Nature Conservation and Forests (ICNF) in a statement. The organization suspended the hunting license of the Torrebela Tourist Hunting Zone in Azambuja and has launched an investigation into what happened.

PAN, one of now twenty animal rights parties across the globe and represented in Portuguese parliament since 2015, has strongly advocated tight regulation for the hunting sector in Portugal ever since it entered politics. ‘However, our proposals have systematically been rejected in parliament.’ Such as the proposal to ensure the census and monitoring of species subject to game exploitation. ‘No one knows exactly what is the conservation status of populations at the moment. The existing data are the result of counting dead animals, and not the actual number of living specimens.’ Hence, according to PAN, censuses are essential.

Soon after word came out on the Azambuja massacre, PAN questioned the Minister for the Environment and Climate Action about the event. The Minister thereupon called for the National Hunting Council to reflect on the practice of mounts (taxidermy) and admitted that ‘changes to the law are needed to prevent the terrible events that have been reported from being repeated.’ The beginning of a breakthrough for PAN and Portuguese animals?

The rejection of recreational hunting is a common goal of cooperating animal rights parties around the world. In 2019 a ban on hunting and the import of wildlife trophies was included in the common manifesto signed by the eleven parties for the animals joining forces in the European Parliament elections, including PAN. ‘Our movement will certainly not stop until this violence becomes past’, according to PAN.

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