Hunting is no longer in keeping with the times
German hunters and their controversial hobby
Germany’s hunters, some 350,000 in number, interfere massively in the ecological system of the countryside. They transform it to meet their requirements – often to the disadvantage of the natural household. The stocks of desirable species such as Roe and Red Deer and Pheasant are artificially boosted by feeding of wildlife, use of medication or unnatural introductions into the wild. The latter in particular promotes damage to trees in the last remaining near-natural woods and forests. Troublesome competitors such as foxes, martens, badgers, polecats and weasels are however subject to attack from a battery of often inhumane traps, or an open crusade with firearms. The hunting of their carefully protected game is then publicly justified as a necessary measure for keeping wildlife stocks under control – after the natural predators have first been eliminated by the hunters!
But man cannot and does not need to replace them. Predators as a rule have only a qualitative influence on the populations of their prey. They kill mostly sick, weak or young animals and birds. There has never been a quantitative influence on populations by predators; their natural population densities were always far too low. This natural culling takes place due to contact illnesses, competition within the population and severe winters; all factors that are still valid in today’s cultivated countryside. Deer and Wild Boar population control is dependent on neither man nor wolf.
Migrant birds such as wild ducks, arctic geese, snipe species and wild pigeons and doves are popular targets for the country’s hunters. Annually some 1.5 million migrant birds are victims of the German passion for hunting (see annual bags). Hunting of almost tame wildlife – above all wild boar in so-called hunting paddocks – is also popular.
Unlike other EU states, there is a widespread lack of hunting controls in Germany. The maxim here is self-control. In many hunting preserves shooting of raptors, poisoning of ‘predators’ and other offences against hunting and nature protection legislation, is therefore the order of the day.
CABS is actively committed to an ecological reform of German hunting legislation. It also monitors wild geese hunting in Eastern Germany, searches for illegal raptor traps and poisoned bait in the western part of the country, critically observes the state of legislation in the federal states (hunting law can differ in detail from state to state in Germany) and, in cases of regulations which conflict with EU legislation, submits complaints to the European Commission.