• Guest Wednesday of the presidential live

    20 Minutes

    / TF1 on Instagram, Yannick Jadot, environmental candidate for the presidential election, argued that there are 20 million animals raised for hunting in France.

  • This estimate is based on figures from a farmers' union.

  • These figures date from 2013 and the union is conducting a new survey of the figures for the sector.

    According to the first results, the number of birds reared by the sector is now lower.

  • The president of the union explains that not all the animals are released only to be hunted within a very short time.

    However, high mortality seems to affect pheasants released into the wild and not killed during hunting.

Are there really 20 million animals raised in France each year for hunting? This is the estimate put forward by Yannick Jadot, environmental candidate for the presidential election, during a live broadcast on the Instagram pages of

20 Minutes

and TF1 on Friday. “You know that in France every year 20 million animals are raised to shoot them as soon as they come out of the cages?, he launched. It's the pheasants that you see in the wild, they almost eat out of your hand because they were raised by the hand of man. We cannot organize this suffering. »

MEP EELV also spoke out for a reduction in shooting, wanting to ban it on weekends and during school holidays.

The ecologist is also campaigning to ban hunting with hounds and the hunting of protected species.

Where does this estimate of 20 million he gave on Wednesday come from?

Yannick Jadot's team specifies to

20 Minutes

 that the candidate relied on a figure which "comes from the national union of hunting game producers which is taken up by the media and associations which work on animal condition (ASPAS, L214…)”.

An estimate dating from at least 2013, currently being updated

This estimate was given by the National Union of Game Producers (SNPGC), but it dates back to at least 2013. This figure of 20 million then included several species according to the union: 14 million pheasants, 5 million partridges gray and red, one million mallard ducks, 40,000 French hares, 100,000 wild rabbits, 10,000 stags and 7,000 fallow deer.

These animals were intended to be released into the wild in France.

Eight years after their publication, Jean-Christophe Chastang, the president of the syndicate, himself a breeder and also president of Interprochasse, an interprofession bringing together professionals to "ensure the promotion of hunting game to the general public", is gaining away from these numbers.

He explains to

20 Minutes

that an investigation is underway to update them.

According to the first results, it would now be "10 to 15 million birds", which would be bred in France, he says.

Animals not all intended to be immediately hunted, defends Jean-Christophe Chastang

Jean-Christophe Chastang also disagrees with the fact that animals released into the wild would come out of "cages", as Yannick Jadot explained.

"The game is not raised in cages at all, quite the contrary," he says.

These are animals that are intended to be returned to nature.

For this, we need to have animals that are extremely capable of adapting to territories.

These are animals that live most of their production cycle in large areas, with large aviaries, with rich and varied biotopes.

»

Pheasants a few weeks old are well placed in aviaries "of variable surface area", noted in 2018 the association for the protection of wild animals (ASPAS), which campaigns for the ban on game farms for hunting. The SNGPC therefore requires 3m² per animal. Some birds, on the other hand, are placed in outdoor cages, called laying pens, for the breeding process, ASPAS also noted. However, "the vast majority of breeders do not practice breeding and buy day-old chicks from large farms", specified this association.

Once bred, are these animals released to be immediately hunted, as the environmentalist presidential candidate explained? Again, Jean-Christophe Chastang denies it, recalling that animals are put in the wild at different times of the year, in spring for reproduction, in summer for repopulation and finally during the hunting season to be hunted. “The game is not entirely harvested at all [the harvest is the act of hunting], he adds. There is no precise, exact figure, but the removals oscillate between 40 and 60% [of the animals put in the wild], which means that we have between 60 and 40% of animals which remain on the territory. »

A survey carried out in 2013-2014 by the National Office for Hunting and Wildlife, which has since been incorporated into the French Office for Biodiversity – which did not respond to our requests for this article – estimated around three million the number of common pheasants hunted.

The Office then noted that “most of this sampling is carried out on farmed birds”.

What happens to the other animals that are not hunted?

According to Aspas, many “do not survive in the wild, at least until they can reproduce there in the spring following their release.

Blame it on the predators?

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