World Badger Awareness Day, a wild species whose hunting is controversial

World Badger Awareness Day, a wild species whose hunting is controversial
World Badger Awareness Day, a wild species whose hunting is controversial

This May 15 is World Badger Day, a wild animal hunted by federations during a practice called underground hunting. The request for extensions of hunting periods gives rise to authorizations by prefectural decrees, which are then sanctioned in court, in Limousin as elsewhere in France.

If a world day is dedicated to badgers according to the Association for the Protection of Wild Animals (ASPAS) which initiated it, it is for improve knowledge of this mammal, the largest mustelid in France. It is also “For alert to the cruelty of digging up”, called underground hunting.

If the hunting period officially begins on September 15 and extends until January 15, hunters systematically request prefectural authorization to bring it forward to May 15.

In each department, hundreds of badgers, adults and young, are killed during these opening and extension days of hunting, systematically authorized by the Prefectures.

This hunt and its extension schedule have been before the administrative courts for two years at the request of two associations for the defense of wild animals: One Voice and ASPAS.

These orders are sanctioned by the Administrative Judge in numerous departments: Orne, Somme, Ile et Vilaine, Vienne, Ain, Loire et Cher, Meurthe et Moselle, Allier, Cantal, Nièvre, Aube, Tarn, Loire-Atlantique, Haute-Vienne … on the grounds that badgers born in spring and not yet autonomous on May 15 can still be found in the burrows.

However, it is illegal, and the Council of State, the highest administrative jurisdiction, recalled this in a ruling of July 28, 2022, to kill unweaned young of a species classified as huntable.

Many European countries have also abandoned this practice of digging up badgers.

Watch the report from the point of view of the hunters, discussing in particular the fact that “the badger is a vector of bovine tuberculosis”, which is contested by the associations.

duration of video: 00h01mn46s

May 15: World Badger Day to raise awareness of badger hunting denounced by wildlife protection associations

©France 3 Limousin Martial Codet-Boisse Pascal Coussy Philippe Ruisseaux

The stuffed mammal serves as an emblem at the entrance to the Maison de la Nature of the Haute-Vienne Hunting Federation in Limoges. On this World Badger Day, hunters from Haute-Vienne are mobilizing to defend their practice of digging up this mammal.

For Natacha Poirier, spokesperson for the Haute-Vienne Hunting Federation: “it is an animal which has no predator and which must be regulated.

It is an animal that causes damage, mainly to agriculture, it destroys corn fields and attacks livestock.

Natacha Poirier

Communications officer for the Hunting Federation 87

For associations, “Lhe reality of the damage alleged by the hunting federations and the prefectures to base the decrees is never demonstrated, including before administrative judges. The same goes for estimating badger populations, no numerical data is communicated. replies Nicolas Yahyaoui, Lawyer for the One Voice association.

But what is especially denounced, as the animalist associations did again in Limoges last Sunday, May 12, is the technique of this hunt, the digging up, a practice considered cruel:

It is a hunt that takes place over several hours, because the goal is to reach the badger’s burrow underground, the adults and young without distinction are then caught with pliers then finished off with kicks or pickaxes or rifle…whatever is on hand that day.


Member of the “One Voice” association

For the GMHL, the Mammalogical and Herpetological Group of Limousin, it must be remembered that the badger is a species listed in the Berne Convention (1979).

The Berne Convention prohibits the hunting of young ones which are not yet independent, which is the case for young badgers which are born around April 15. A month later, they are not yet weaned.

Gabriel Metegnier

Director of the Mammalogical and Herpetological Group of Limousin

It is also an entire ecosystem which suffers, according to the associations, from this underground hunting, because the badger’s habitat is also that of other protected species. This world day is also an opportunity to raise public awareness of all the benefits that the badger provides to its environment. Their complex play behaviors and collective caretaking of young ones are still being studied.



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