'Cymru' in Germany
Hunters and the Hunted in Germany

An Environmentalist’s Guide to the German Hunter’s Ten Commandments

1 – The hunt is ‘applied’ nature conservation

False! Hunters exploit nature; they do NOT conserve it. At the most they preserve the species which are of interest to them as prey. As a matter of interest – German hunters discharge tons of highly toxic lead in the countryside annually– not a bad contribution to conservation!

2 – Hunting is necessary to regulate wild animal numbers

False! Population regulation is not achieved through hunting but takes place as a result of infectious diseases, inter-racial competition and shortage of food in winter. In areas of Europe where hunting is forbidden, for example the extensive Italian National parks or in the Swiss Canton of Geneva, excessive populations of wild animals have not been recorded to date.

3 – Hunting takes care of annual surpluses

Only partly true. The estimation of surplus populations can only be estimated, and then not completely accurately, for permanent populations of certain species (in Germany Fallow, Red and Roe deer). No one can forecast the size of the annual arctic geese and duck populations which overwinter in our climes, and which are enthusiastically hunted here, as the breeding success can vary greatly from season to season.

4 – No species is actively endangered by Hunting

False! Many species which are still legally hunted in Germany (Brown Hare, Pine Marten, Woodcock and Grey Partridge) are on the national or regional Red Lists of endangered species. Hunting is not of course the only threat; but it is not exactly conducive to their conservation.

5 – Hunters are a substitute for the extinct predators

False! Predators prefer old, sick and weak animals and thereby assist in preserving a healthy wild animal population. A hunter, who shoots over long distances, can seldom determine if an animal is sick or old. Hunters kill according to other criteria – for example deer with particularly well-developed antlers. In addition the annual killing of some 700,000 martens, foxes and weasels decimates the few remaining predators.

6 – Hunting is our Heritage

Perhaps. Heritage has been defined as “the sum of the national intellectual and artistic expression…” and “…its way of life, upbringing and educational development” (Duden, Vol 5, 1982). It can safely be left to each citizen’s personal judgement as to whether the killing of wild animals fits this description.

7 – Hunting prevents damage to the natural environment by wild animals

False! The opposite is often the case. Unnatural provision of food in winter for deer and wild boar can lead to a tenfold increase in population which leads to massive damage to the environment. Hunting also leads to great expenditure of energy by wild animals which increases their feeding requirements and the collateral natural damage.

8 – Hunting is also necessary within nature reserves

False! In almost every other country in the world hunting in nature reserves is forbidden, and there are no signs that the natural balance is threatened. In the few nature reserves that exist in Germany the wildlife should also be free from human persecution.

9 – The hunting license examination is a form of ‘green’ matriculation

False! The one-sided and ideologically coloured knowledge that the examinee is required to learn would not enable him or her to achieve a pass mark in a basic biology exam.

10 – Hunting follows the principles of ‘German sportsmanship’

Correct! Unfortunately no one can define exactly what these ‘sporting principles’ are. There is no legal definition – each individual hunter applies them - enthusiastically - according to his or her own interpretation.

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