Background

Animal & Public Health

Hunters care. They care about nature, they care about other people in the countryside and they care about animals: their dogs and other aides such as birds of prey for falconry of course, but also for wild animals.

Hunters are trained, motivated and committed to eliminate any avoidable suffering to animals – it is an essential part of hunting ethics and of all formal codes of conduct.

Hunters also monitor the health status of animals living in the wild (Swine Fever, Rabies, Avian Influenza…) and play so a key role in protecting public health and that of domestic (farmed) animals. In this way they are partners of European (EU) and international (OIE) initiatives against transmissible diseases (zoonosis).

In the EU and Council of Europe FACE acts as a guardian of the subsidiarity principle in relation to wild animal welfare and welfare of auxiliary animals, such as hunting dogs, by ensuring that these issues remain within the sole jurisdiction of Member States which are best placed to deal effectively with these issues in accordance with their national socio-cultural traditions.

Read our position paper on Avian Influenza and Wild Birds (EN, FR, DE).

AFRICAN SWINE FEVER: “SHOOTING, SHOOTING, SHOOTING IS NOT THE SOLUTION” 

The African Swine Fever Virus (ASFV) is a serious viral disease that infects domestic pigs and wild boar (humans are not susceptible to the virus). Having been successfully eradicated from the EU mainland in the nineteen nineties (although still present in Sardinia), the disease has recently been detected in wild boars in Lithuania and Poland. In January this year two wild boars tested positive for ASFV in Lithuania (one was found dead about 40 km north of the Belarus border and the other was hunted about 5 km from the border; the distance between the two animals was 36 km). One month later the Polish authorities confirmed two cases of infected wild boar in their country (one found dead about 900 m from the Belarus border and the other about 3 km from the border; the distance between the two animals was 15 km). The most likely scenario appears to be the passage of wild boars from Belarus where the situation of ASFV has been described by the European Commission as “out of control”.

Animal By-Products

Under EU law hunters are under certain conditions exempt from EU health rules on the treatment of animal by-products (ABP) resulting from hunting operations. The EU ABP Regulation (EC) No. 1069/2009, and the Commission implementing Regulation (EU) No. 142/2011, exempt from their scope ABP from wild game (meat) supplied by the hunter in small quantities directly to the final consumer or to local retail establishments directly supplying the final consumer as well as wild game not collected after killing, in accordance with good hunting practices.

For the implementation of the latter exemption, FACE has already played a key role by presenting comprehensive information to the Commission and to Member States’ experts on what constitutes good hunting practice in relation to handling ABP during the different hunting stages – from the small scale rearing of game birds by a hunters’ club over the local delivery of game meat in small quantities to the preparation by a hunter of his roebuck trophy. Such activities should therefore not be covered by the Regulation’s detailed provisions.

Member States may also apply special national exemptions for the preparations of hunting trophies from animals taken in the EU for private or non-commercial purposes.
 
In other cases than the abovementioned, hunters are covered by the EU ABP Regulations’ provisions specifying how different risk categories of ABP must be disposed of (from disposal by incineration to appropriate treatment in approved establishments or plants).

The European Commission website on Animal By-Products: http://ec.europa.eu/food/food/biosafety/animalbyproducts/index_en.htm

A special group of hunters who must adhere to the EU regulations on ABP are those who are importing hunting trophies into the EU of birds and ungulates that have not undergone a complete taxidermy treatment. Hunting trophies of species other than ungulates or birds that have or have not undergone a complete taxidermy treatment, as well as trophies of birds and ungulates having undergone a complete taxidermy treatment, ensuring their preservation at ambient temperature, are not regulated under (EC) No. 1069/2009 and (EU) No. 142/2011. The importer must ensure that the product meets the requirement of the EU Member State to which the product is exported.

Moreover hunting trophy establishments in non-EU-countries handling the trophies for the purpose of the EU regulations should be entered into the so called TRACES system and be notified to the European Commission.
More information is available on the European Commission’s website: http://ec.europa.eu/food/animal/bips/faq/index_en.htm

See our CITES page for information on nature conservation requirements for the import of hunting trophies into the EU.