While the law on hunting is struggling in the polls, Fabio Regazzi (PDC / TI), vice-president of ChasseSuisse, believes that this revision will make it possible to manage the “subtle balances of wildlife” with breeding and farming. pastoralism.
In German-speaking Switzerland, a committee of hunters was formed to oppose the law passed by Parliament. Is this a disavowal for you?
It is indeed unfortunate that not all hunters are pulling the same rope, but it’s like in a political party, there can be differences on certain points within the same party. It’s the same in our corporation. Unanimity would be suspicious, and the very fact of having differences means that dialogue and the sharing of opinions exist. But we have to be aware that this committee is still fairly marginal and represents around 100 hunters out of the 30,000 in the country. They are practically absent from Romandie and Ticino. There is therefore no disavowal.
Are you surprised to see that a number of hunters today are very attached to the protection of wildlife and protected species?
Obviously not! All hunters are attached to it. The fact of occasionally taking a few individuals, within a determined and very strict framework, is never an act against nature and biodiversity. If you have the privilege of collecting an animal during the season, you want to be able to come back the following year. It is for this reason that hunters, through their federation, are still very active and contribute to the conservation and enhancement of wildlife habitats. But when a lumberjack cuts down a tree, he is not acting against the forest. It promotes its renewal, uses a natural resource, and will ensure that its action is sustainable. It is the same for hunting.
The hunters who refuse this law also believe that it does not bring any improvement for the practice of hunting, such as the recognition of licenses at the federal level?
It is true that the referendaries talk a lot about the law on hunting, and focus on hunters, while the text is the “federal law on hunting and the protection of wild mammals and birds”. It is therefore above all a protection law, which in the end does not change much in the practice of hunting, except to update a few elements at the federal level. The issue of license recognition is probably unfortunate for some, but the baby should not be thrown out with the bathwater. It is not because the text may be imperfect on this subject that it should be refused. The parliamentarians worked on this law for several years and reached a compromise.
Hunters who oppose this law fear that it will contribute to giving or maintaining a poor image of hunting among the population. Is that the case ?
The referendums do all they can to give a bad image of hunting, and this is really unfortunate, because we essentially pursue the same goals as the associations for the protection of nature, of which we are a part. On the other hand, I think that if this law is accepted, it will calm the spirits. It will give the cantons the means to manage the subtle balances of the fauna, and will make it possible to limit the damage to human activities, such as breeding and pastoralism.
Does your message seem difficult to get across, however?
Our task is not easy, because we must make people understand that our first concern is the protection of wildlife. The referendaries spend their time saying that the new law should have protected certain species such as the hare and the black grouse. These species are not victims of overhunting, but of the disappearance of their habitats. By keeping them huntable, to a sustainable and reasonable extent, we give them value and we ensure their conservation.
In your opinion, do hunters have a good image today?
ChasseSuisse has been carrying out a population survey every two years since 2012. In 2018, by a very large majority, the population considered that hunting, as it is practiced in Switzerland, was part of a process of sustainable development and protection of wildlife. 75% of respondents agreed with the statement that hunters are at the service of the diversity of species in nature. Only 5% rejected this statement altogether. 78% of the participants also confirmed the hunters’ commitment to the environment and wildlife habitats.
What is the evolution since 2012?
This corresponded to an increase of 4 points compared to the first survey in 2012. We can still note that 82% of the people questioned were of the opinion that hunting was necessary for the regulation of wild animal populations. For most of them (68%), bears, wolves and lynxes, which are on the increase in the country, should also be regulated. The result of the Zurich vote in 2018, with 80% of yes for the pursuit of hunting in this canton, further demonstrated the excellent image that hunting enjoys in our country. You will notice in a few weeks that people will be rushing to restaurants to eat game… Gastronomy is probably the best indicator of the perception of our practice.