Bill to ban live callers wins Jules-Michelet award


The 30 million Friends Foundation (87), partner of the University Diploma in Animal Law of the University of Limoges, has awarded the Jules-Michelet Prize for a reform proposal related to the prohibition of the use of live bait in the practice of waterfowl hunting. Author Sarah Charlat reviews the challenges it faced. What sparked your interest in protecting wildlife, especially live animals?

Sarah Charlat : As far as I know, I’ve always been particularly sensitive to the treatment that men reserve for animals. We’ve always had cats in our house, and my parents picked them up from the street to give them a second chance. As a volunteer at La Fondation Droit Animal (LFDA), I was able to discover the alleged unequal treatment between pet animals and wild animals, and how French law ignores wild animals. By definition, wild animals that do not belong to anyone (innocent in law) largely evade the protective rules enacted by legislators. Digging into this topic, I am particularly indignant about the use of live baits, especially in the practice of waterfowl hunting. I realize there is a need to change the legislation to make this use completely disappear. Simply put, it’s a matter of using captive-raised animals — different species of ducks — to bring wild birds into the hunter’s range through their song and numbers. The baits are placed in separate cages away from the hunting area, some are placed high up, while others are placed directly on the body of water using fasteners and weights.

Callers are placed in individual cages high up away from the hunting area. ©DR

Since the use of live hunting baits is prohibited in principle, what is the derogation basis for the ban?

The decree of 4 November 2003 provides, in principle, a derogation from the ban on the killing of passing birds and waterfowl and the destruction of “harmful” animals. To understand the basis of this derogation, with regard to the practice of waterfowl hunting, it is necessary to refer to Section L424-4 of the Environmental Code, which specifically states that ” In order to permit, under strictly controlled conditions and selectively, the killing of certain passing birds in small numbers, the Minister in charge of hunting authorizes, under conditions determined by him, to use specialized hunting methods and means through traditional usage, derogating from the first authorized person So here, tradition justifies the authorization of the use of live bait in the practice of waterfowl hunting. In the field of hunting, traditional arguments are often and even systematically used to justify certain cruel but ancestral practices (such as the use of hunting dogs) hunting) is justified.

Talk about the detention conditions of the living appellant?

In my reform proposals, I specifically emphasize the absence of specific legislative provisions regarding the conditions of detention of these animals and their use in waterfowl hunting practices (unregulated tethering methods, no minimum fencing area…  ). This lack of a regulatory framework leads to many abuses at the expense of their physical and emotional needs. Some had no access to ponds; others lived in flooded paddocks and had no access to dry land; and still others had poor bread and stagnant water as their only food. Practiced at night, this hunt is protected from bait, restrained and hindered, expressing their natural feeding behavior. In addition, they forcibly heard rifle fire causing their barbarians to fall and die. As naturalist Pierre Rigaud concluded, ” Compared to their minimal happiness, they are in a totally abnormal situation “.

This chase prevents callers from expressing their natural behavior.

Sarah Charlat

What is the reason hunters don’t use artificial baits?

This practice of hunting is mainly carried out at night or in the past (dusk and dawn) as this is the time when migratory birds are most active. Therefore, without the help of animals used as live bait, it is difficult for hunters to distinguish between migratory birds and even more difficult to identify the huntable species among them. In fact, the caller’s eyes, specially chosen for this purpose, can see birds at night and in the dark. My reform proposals do not address the practice of banning the hunting of waterfowl per se: it is a matter of banning the use of “live bait”, either with artificial baits or beets (plastic or wooden bird imitations) and/or by baiting (human tools to attract animals through the noise they make). By definition, these alternatives are more conducive to respecting animal welfare. Also, in addition to using live bait, they have been used by hunters.

Can your reform proposal be debated among legislators?

It is my sincere hope that this work and this proposal will resonate with MPs and potentially push forward legislation to better protect animals used as “live bait” in hunting practices, or even lead to an outright ban. My goal There’s also a debate about the treatment reserved for these animals, which, in my opinion, has relatively few issues of general concern to MPs and the public. I am well aware that this cannot be implemented immediately, so my reform plan is developed in two stages. The first is to immediately stop the breeding of any baits on recreational and professional farms. The second – a ban on the use of “live baits” in waterfowl hunting practices – will be applied with a five-year delay to allow for gradual adaptation of breeding facilities designed to sell bait to waterfowl practitioners for this hunt.

The tenth promotion of Animal Fadou meets at the graduation ceremony in Brive-La-Gaillarde. ©DUDroit animalier – University. Limoges 2022

Could the Michelet Prize just awarded to you be a source of legislative change?

I firmly believe that it constitutes The real source of legislative change. Also, this has been stated. The award-winning reform proposals were subsequently adopted and are now part of positive law (eg banning pony riding). I think it is important that all the reflective work done by the students of the University of Animal Law in Limoges within the framework of the Michelet Prize, and more generally, within the framework of this DU, is not just a simple working intellectual and Actively promote the development of legislation related to animal protection. I would also like to extend my warm thanks to Mr. Marguénaud, President of the Michelet Jury, all the members of the Jury and the 30 Million Friends Foundation, who have made me the privilege of conferring this award on me.

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