Tribute to the victims of hunting accidents as the French Senate opens an investigation

A march took place on Saturday in Cajarc, in southwest France, in memory of Morgan Keane, a 25-year-old man who was killed by a hunter just 100 meters from his home. A petition calling for better regulation of hunting in France has since prompted the Senate to set up a special commission.

Whenever she hears a gunshot, Elodie Le Frixon remembers an incident four years ago, when a bullet fired by a hunter passed through her kitchen window and nearly hit her companion.

In a separate incident earlier this year, a driver on a motorway died of his injuries after being shot by a hunter in Brittany.

Hunting-related incidents like this one – in which non-hunters have been injured or killed by hunter bullets – are mobilizing people to improve gun regulations.

To fight against these accidents, a petition entitled “Deaths, violence and abuse linked to hunting: never again” has been set up on the website. The website of the French Senate, calling for action on the regulation of hunting. It had collected 122,484 signatures as of November 30.

Hunters cry foul over calls for restrictions

The petition was organized by the Morgan Keane friends, a 25-year-old man killed a year ago by a hunter’s fire while chopping wood in his garden.

According to Léa Jaillard, co-organizer of the petition, “Morgan could be you, your brother, your parents, anyone”.

Family and friends gathered on Saturday for a Keane memorial walk and to raise awareness.

Yannick Jadot, the French Green presidential candidatee in the next election in 2022, also proposed a ban on hunting on weekends and school holidays to reduce risks for joggers and hikers.

But these initiatives have provoked the indignation of hunting enthusiasts, who consider the sports of firearms to be an integral part of the French tradition.

Willy Schraen, President of the National Federation of Hunters, called the decision to ban hunting at certain times of the week “really stupid”.

For supporters of armed sports, weekends are the only time they can hunt, and any restrictions would constitute an infringement of personal freedom.

According to figures announced by the government branch in charge of Biodiversity, hunting accidents fell slightly over the 2020/21 season with 80 accidents, including seven fatalities (six hunters and one non-hunter), against 141 accidents in the 2019 season / 20 with 11 dead, including a non-hunter.

Since the start of the 2021/22 season, there have been 42 crashes, including three fatalities.

Special commission

At the same time, a special commission made up of 19 members of the Senate from different political backgrounds was set up. It will begin its work next Tuesday by hearing Mila Faustine Béatrice Sanchez, who launched the petition.

The committee will look into security issues, the validation of hunting licenses, the conditions for obtaining weapons, the shared use of outdoor spaces, the sanctioning of rule violations and the handling of complaints from victims.

On December 20, the commission will witness a wild boar hunt in the Ain.

Their report on hunting regulations is expected in the middle of next year.

In the meantime, the government has created a website with a calendar of the hunting season in order to educate the public about forestry activities during the winter.

(with wires)

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