France revises hunting rules but stops short of Sunday ban

© Charly Triballeau, AFP

France's government on Monday announced tighter rules against hunting under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and protection for walkers and local residents, but stopped short of a hoped-for Sunday ban.

Although a weekend "no hunting day" is popular with the public, President Emmanuel Macron is wary of alienating rural voters and adding to anti-government resentment as he launches a major pension reform.

Instead, junior environment minister Berangere Couillard said hunting under the influence would be banned, training and safety rules for hunters strengthened and digital systems developed to warn other countryside users away from active hunting zones.

Punishments will also be upgraded, including hunters losing their licences if they are involved in a serious accident.

"My goal is to aim for zero accidents," Couillard said on a Monday trip to the Loiret department south of Paris.

"We want to see better safety, seven days a week," she added.

Statistics show hunting accidents have been on the decline in France over the past 20 years. But cases of injury or even death from stray bullets remain highly emotive and are often widely covered by the media.

Some 90 accidents were recorded during the 2021-22 hunting season, eight of them fatal, according to the OFB biodiversity authority, which manages the sport.

He has claimed there would be uproar in rural areas if there were a ban.


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