The Portuguese hunters’ association accuses the Ministry of Agriculture of authorising the “mass culling of wild boar” in corn fields, a sport that is popular among the hunting community for the “adrenaline rush” it provides but which is considered dangerous, with many participants suffering gunshot injuries and sometimes even killed.
Hélder Ramos, president of the Federação Portuguesa de Caçadores (FPC), has urged the government to “immediately suspend all activities already planned” and threatened a lawsuit against those responsible for allowing this type of sport – the president of the Institute for Nature and Forest Conservation (ICNF) and the Minister of Agriculture – should further fatal accidents occur.
The FPC describes the activity as a mass killing of animals in a “business that generates a lot of money for organisers” as hundreds of hunters, each paying on average €150-€300 to participate and using a total of around 500 dogs, gather in corn fields to hunt the wild boar.
What was once a sport involving just a handful of hunters and dogs, chasing the wild boar out of the corn fields to protect the crops from the damage caused by the animals, has now become a business with “far too many participants” who leave a trail of death and destruction behind.
According to Hélder Ramos, too many eager shooters are taking aim at the wild boars in a field that offers poor visibility due to the dense vegetation and “often hunters end up shooting other participants by mistake”. “Furthermore, a large number of animals, including juvenile wild boars, are killed unnecessarily,” he said.
“This activity is horrendous as entire colonies of wild boars are shot dead as well as being extremely dangerous, offering no safety for participants,” he said.
According to Ramos, the FPC has frequently raised this issue with the government and even proposed alterative solutions to the “slaughter” amid the corn fields.
One such solution would be to release hunting dogs into the fields to scare the wild boars away in order to avoid accidental deaths through the use of firearms.