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New hunting law: Greens criticize the lack of nature and species protection

New hunting law: Greens criticize the lack of nature and species protection
The new hunting law is to be passed in the state parliament on Thursday. photo: VOLKER WEIHBOLD
Image: volker weihbold
Nature conservation spokesman for the Greens, Rudi Hemetsberger
Nature conservation spokesman for the Greens, Rudi Hemetsberger
Image: Catherine Roider Photography

The current state hunting law in Upper Austria was valid for 60 years. Tomorrow a new law will be passed in the state parliament session, and it is “very likely,” says Green nature conservation spokesman Rudi Hemetsberger. But not all points of the new law are effective: “When amending the hunting law, the state government chose the path that the law was essentially pre-negotiated with two interest groups: the Chamber of Agriculture and the state hunting association. This can also be seen in the law. ” The forest brings together various interest groups: landowners, hunters, recreational athletes and also the interests of environmental and nature conservation. In particular, those groups that are not affected by hunting were not involved in the amendment.

Wildlife feeding as a problem

Above all, feeding wild animals needs to be restricted more, says Hemetsberger. In general, the obligation to feed deer should be abolished; the right to feed deer should only apply in times of emergency. “The basic problem is: the owners are interested in a healthy forest population, the hunters are interested in the wild population. And here feeding essentially contributes to this,” says Hemetsberger. Further points that the Green Party’s nature conservation spokesman makes critical comments about the new hunting law: The interests of nature, species and habitat protection are not sufficiently anchored in the principles of the hunting law. “Wild, endangered animal species must also be completely protected. These include stoats, capercaillie and black deer as well as teals and pochards.”

Nature conservation spokesman for the Greens, Rudi Hemetsberger
Nature conservation spokesman for the Greens, Rudi Hemetsberger
Image: Catherine Roider Photography

If forced shooting of predators is required, the assessment of recognized environmental organizations must also be taken into account in the assessment. In addition, the powers of the hunting protection bodies with regard to poaching dogs and cats in the forest should be limited. “That can no longer be justified these days,” says Hemetsberger.

While nature conservation organizations are represented below average in the new hunting law, only the Chamber of Agriculture would have had more say, says Hemetsberger. “We Greens are therefore calling for a separate vote. Out of a total of 91 paragraphs, we will not agree to 21 – and therefore essential parts of the law – in the state parliament.”

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