Foxes, wild boar, European deer, deer, chamois and chamois… Hunting animals in captivity is a legal practice in France. Wealthy landowners surrounded by vast wooded parks where farmed animals abounded. The hunters then pay the right to come and kill the trapped animals, away from prying eyes. real “ Thematic parks »where everything is scrupulously arranged for the customers’ delight.
From November 2018 to February 2019, Marie [*] he infiltrated one of these precincts, in the department of Deux-Sèvres. She accompanied a group of about ten men in disguise and witnessed seven wild boar hunts. “ In my imagination, they would stay in a watchtower and wait for an animal to pass to shoot.said the activist news reporter. If only that… »
It was more about hunting with dogs  motorized. A pack of hounds was on the trail of a wild boar. Hunters took turns following the horde in vehicles. Hunting often dragged on all day. “ Ethics is to make pigs run for at least three hours ! », laughed a hunter, reports the insider. Surprised to see the man release a wild boar a few feet away from him, Marie realized then that the murder would only be recorded when the prey was exhausted.
- Around a hunting grounds in the Causse de Sauveterre the day after a fire. August 17, 2022. Our life
“ Once the wild boar is immobilized, backed up against a fence, hunters are delighted to see the hounds ripping it alive. », reports the complainant. However, such a practice is completely illegal. Dogs are not to be used as weapons, hunters are typically required to retrieve them immediately to avoid excruciating suffering when captured. “ This fascination with the suffering of animals shocked me deeply. One day, they were exulting in front of a wild boar whose testicles had been ripped out by the dogs. “Oops, there he is neutered !”they laughed out loud. »
Ceremonies and trumpet concerts in honor of the dead game sometimes accompany certain classic hunts. There, the atmosphere is quite different. “ There is no respect for the animal, there is nocontinues the activist. These men are unspeakably vulgar. Their presence was unbearable for me, I put myself in robot mode to collect images. I endured the sight of blood, but the animals’ scream accompanied by their laughter haunted me. »
“ There is no respect for the animal, none. These men are unspeakably vulgar »
After the hunt, the participants were “ the slaughterhouse ». There, in that cold chamber with the blood-stained floor, they cut, measured, and weighed the day’s spoils. “ Well done Bernard, what a champion you are ! »caricature of Mary in a coarse tone. “ They don’t pretend. Indeed, there is a kind of adoration for whoever has the longest fangs. » As for the dozens of kilos of meat, they came to fill the garbage bins… for lack of being able to eat the ones from the previous hunt.
There is no national database listing all these parks and grounds. . In 2012, an administrative investigation conducted by the National Office of Hunting and Wildlife (ONCFS) allowed, however, to estimate their number at 1,300. news reporter tried to approach the managers of certain structures. Not to mention his golden rule: discretion. “ You suspect well that I won’t answer you »grumbled a first. “ [Vous êtes le] ecology everyday ? No way », cursed a second, hanging up. The other calls were not answered.
When browsing the internet, however, we are able to collect some information about your commercial offers. On the Spanish border, for example, a property promises its customers to support them “ unforgettable moments », between chestnut and ash trees. For 500 euros, it is possible to slaughter a mouflon there. Add another 100 euros and you’ll return from the hunt with a young fallow deer. The usual price for a wild boar is around 300 euros.
What reasons lead hunters to spend such amounts to practice an activity that, however, is free outdoors? ? In the eyes of the informant, it is the set of services offered that seduces customers: “ The hosts put the small plates in the large ones. Upon arrival, breakfast is served in a beautiful room where many trophies are enthroned. » Game guards, well-versed in the habits of the prey, guide each group. ATVs, cars, bicycles, watchtowers, spears… Plenty of equipment available. “ Absolutely everything is designed to ensure you don’t come home empty handed at night. »
- A wild boar on the back of a quad. Marie, anti-poaching activist.
These cabinets are, however, only a version low cost sumptuous estates where stars, billionaires and multinational bosses rub shoulders. A financial elite fighting for the highest trophy ranking. Deer, mouflons and deer are indeed the reluctant protagonists of an international competition related to the size of antlers and antlers. “ In this race for the biggest game, enclosure managers practice selecting or importing ungulates from Eastern Europedetails naturalist Pierre Rigaux. And there prices are rising ! » In Aveyron, the Château de Laplanque is proud to have won gold medals. On its site, hundreds of hunters proudly pose, their knees pressed against bloodied deer with huge antlers. To take such a picture, they paid up to 4,000 euros.
A good number of hunting grounds are self-sufficient in the supply of game. On site, the plots are intended for animal husbandry: “ Breeding sows are kept and fed there throughout their lives.explains Mary. One day, I approached creation. Wild boars were not shy at all, they were even curious. »
Once judged sufficiently robust, the future prey is released inside the park enclosure. His interactions with humans don’t stop there, however. Every day, a vehicle brings them the necessary grain for their survival. However, a few hours later, this same van will return full of hunters. “ These animals face a real dilemmacontinues Pierre Rigaud. They depend on humans willing to take them down. Imagine your intense stress and misunderstandings… »
To satisfy hunters’ desires for diversity, other animals are imported from foreign countries. If these commercial transfers are legal, omerta reigns over them. According to the administrative inquiry of theONCFS, carried out in 2012, more than forty species of ungulates from all over the world would thus be kept in captivity in France. Some enclosure managers welcome Sika deer, imported from distant Asian countries, or even European fallow deer, trapped since the Middle Ages for manorial and royal hunts and of which almost no specimens remain wild in France today.
- Rows of watchtowers inside the enclosure. Marie, anti-poaching activist.
In the 2010s, another exotic species appeared on the Sainte-Victoire mountain in Var: the Barbary sheep. “ From the first sightings, naturalists were amazedrecalls Pierre Rigaud. What was this North African species doing here? ? » The investigations finally allowed to lift the veil on this mystery. Some individuals escaped from a nearby enclosure: “ As the species never lived in France, there was a legal vacuum in the legislation. Their hunting, therefore, was not strictly prohibited, so they secretly took advantage of it. »
“ I don’t give a fuck about regulating »
Governed by article L424-3 of the Environmental Code, the hunting grounds escape many regulations related to the practice of hunting. Any game that lives on the property legally belongs to the owner of the premises. Therefore, it is not subject to any maximum deduction limit. Animals can be killed throughout the year, including outside hunting season, in unlimited numbers.
“ These enclosures are lawless zonesregrets Aspas’ Richard Holding. Even the agents of the French Office for Biodiversity (OFB) are not entitled to intervene. » Although articles L171-1 and L172-5 of the Environmental Code allow them to carry out checks, case law has extended home protection to all enclosures. Since then, “ access requires specific provisions heavily framed by the code of criminal procedure » who “ severely limit the right of access of agents of theOFB for hunting grounds »specifies the public establishment to news reporter. In other words, your environmental inspectors are asked to prepare their reports based on observations made with binoculars from the outside.
Many excesses arise from this lack of supervision. In 2014, activists notably revealed the barbaric practices of a Var manager, who sent Dogos Argentinos, Molossoid dogs trained to fight cougars in South America, to devour wild boar. Along the same lines, many domains allow their customers to hunt with spears. The use of these long daggers attached to the end of a metal pole is legal just to finish off a mortally wounded animal.
In May 2021, a bill requiring “ ban on the enclosure of wild animals for hunting purposes » was presented to the National Assembly. If the text takes time to be presented to the Chamber, its eight co-authors, including Insoumise Mathilde Panot, denounce “ true organized carnage ». A few months later, invited to speak on the subject of enclosures, the president of the National Federation of Hunters, Willy Schraen, responded to a columnist in the RMC : “ Do you think we’re here to regulate ? […] Didn’t you understand that we enjoy the act of hunting ? Do you think we are going to become the little hands of regulation. […] I don’t give a shit about regulating. » A nuanced speech, from the first representative of the hunters, that probably won’t change the morals.
contacted by news reporterthe National Federation of Hunters did not respond.