A rally brought together more than 500 people, Friday, September 30, in Mont Mouchet, on the roof of Margeride.
Early in the afternoon of this Friday, September 30, an imposing procession of cars heads towards Mont Mouchet, Auvergne’s center of resistance during the Second World War.
More than 500 people (by our estimates) responded to the call of Mikaël Tichit, a Lozère sheep and cattle farmer based in Charzel, in the town of Saint-Alban-sur-Limagnole. While his flocks were attacked eight times in three months, this father took the lead in the anti-wolf mobilization in Margeride. This sector has been particularly affected by lupine predation since the beginning of the year. In Lozère, two-thirds of the attacks took place there.
It is a silent crowd that finally settles at the foot of the stele in memory of the maquissards. The afternoon is dedicated to various speeches. The objective: to bring together the departments – Lozère, Cantal and Haute-Loire – that share the Margeride massif. The demands: get out of the Berne Convention and regulate the wolf population. Most of the farmers, but also hunters, a handful of local elected officials, mainly Lozériens and Altiligériens, as well as Laurent Duplomb and Jean-Pierre Vigier, respectively senator and deputy for Haute-Loire, are present.
“The OFB lies with impunity”
Fans crowd the podium. Some came from far away. “There are people who resisted the wolf for a long time, launches Mélanie Brunet, president of Cercle 12, the Aveyron breeders’ defense association. The most important message to get across is that we all have to be together.”
Mélanie Brunet: “Creators keep hope in us”
Mélanie Brunet, from Cercle 12, didn’t go to Mont Mouchet alone. On the train, creators of Aveyron, Hérault and Gard wanted to join this meeting. Because it is unity that will be the strength in this anti-wolf fight.
The association’s president assures: “Mikael Tichit, at the origin of the call, wrote Haute-Loire, Lozère, Cantal, because these are the three departments that touch the mountain… and added “E d ‘somewhere else”.”
On the podium, Mélanie Brunet insisted on the necessary federation of departments, but also of “all unions and non-unions combined. This is our leitmotif”. Never down, she continues: “Even if it seems lost in advance, sheep farmers keep hope in us. It is very difficult as the wolf remains overprotected. Despite Macron’s speech this summer, there has just been a meeting for the directive of habitat and the European commissioner says he doesn’t want to change that status. We have to force the doors.”
Soon… as Cercle 12, in particular, will meet with the Minister of Agriculture: “We will systematically put stop clauses”. The president concludes: “There were also cattle ranchers at the demonstration. Strong awareness should be emphasized, as they can also be impacted. There are cattle killed by wolves and especially calves. Unite with the sheep and that is something.”
“We never get used to attacks. We get discouraged. We give up”
The creator of Rouergate also reads a message from farmers in the Alps and Vercors: “For more than twenty years that they have been subjected to attacks by wolves, the situation has only gotten worse. They have more than 600 sheep killed in 2022. Nothing helps, neither protective measures nor shootings in moderation. The French Office of Biodiversity is lying with impunity about the number of wolves in the territory. It is not the paltry harvest quota, even if it has increased, that will improve the situation. The Alpine breeders put you on guard: “You never get used to the attacks. You get discouraged. You give up. You give up in heartbreak, depression, and exhaustion.” The wolf’s status must be reviewed. Nothing justifies total protection.”
A unity also seems to be born among all creators. Yves Chassagny, president of the Aubrac race, is present. Arm in arm with Mikaël Tichit, he confirms that he will be at the side of all his colleagues. Two other interventions also mark the spirits.
First, that of Raymond Chavanon, a horse breeder in Lavigerie, in Cantal. “I’ve had four foals cut from ear to shoulder in four years, he says. Last time a year ago. It’s not my style, but I cried about it. It was my grandson’s.”
Then comes André Vernet, a deer breeder in Paulhac-en-Margeride. The latter fell victim to the wolf on different occasions. On April 27, six of its females were killed. And the man is particularly upset: “Don’t wait for permission. kill the wolf ! Me, if he gets home, he won’t leave !” A position applauded by the crowd, which does not hide its intention to steal if its demands are not heard.
“Leaving the Berne Convention”
What will be the role of the delegation you created?
Whoever composes it will be the spokespersons for the people who have joined the resistance today: farmers, hunters or simple sympathizers.
What doors do you hope to open with this band?
I would like to push just one, but behind it are the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of the Environment. I’m tired of them constantly passing responsibility to the wolf. The two ministries must understand what we are experiencing on the ground, if not the laws, we will not be able to change them, we will not be able to leave the Berne Convention (which protects the wolf, editor’s note).
Are other mobilizations already planned?
I’ve already made an appointment at Mont Mouchet next year. I know it will be a long fight. Until then, we will organize other actions, punch if necessary. We are determined.