An organized hunt in a ranch in the Portuguese municipality of Azambuja where they were more than 500 animals killed generated a wave of outrage in Portugal after photos and videos were viralized in which you can see rows and rows of animals lying on the floor. The event provoked strong criticism from municipal leaders, parties and environmentalists and the authorities they will investigate what happened.
The controversy jumped after some of the 16 Spanish hunters who participated in the hunt disseminated images posing with the corpses of about 540 animals, mostly deer and wild boar. According to local media, the hunt occurred at the Torre de Bela de Azambuja farm, about 40 kilometers from Lisbon.
The Institute for Conservation of Nature and Forests (ICNF, for its acronym in Portuguese), which oversees the hunting sector, reported in a statement that it had no prior knowledge of the hunting, which was carried out in an area classified as “ Tourist hunting area”.
This concession provides for “the exploitation of deer and wild boar”, also through hunting, but due to the high number of animals allegedly killed, the ICNF initiated a process to find out if the law in force was violated.
The Minister of Environment and Climate Action, Joao Pedro Matos Fernández, described the hunt as “vile and unacceptable” act and said he was convinced that they committed an “environmental crime”, so he will send a complaint to the Public Ministry to investigate the existence of the crime “against the preservation of fauna to the owners, organizers and hunters.”
The municipality of Azambuja indicated that it did not receive any official information about hunting, which does not require municipal authorization, and asked the ICNF and the Ministry of Agriculture to verify whether it was an illegal act.
The hunt was criticized by the local mayor, Silvino Lúcio, through a statement from the socialist municipal group in which he denounced that it was a “massacre” and an “environmental crime”. He also noted that the farm where the it’s fenced, so that “ The animals had nowhere to flee”.
The indignation was also joined by the animal party PAN -3 deputies in Parliament-, which described it as a “vile massacre” and assured that it will hold the competent authorities accountable. In addition, he recalled in his statement that in the area where the hunt was carried out, it is planned to install a photovoltaic plant with 765 hectares and that the environmental impact study of the project is currently in the public consultation phase.
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Also adding to the criticism was a deputy from the Bloco de Esquerda, Nelson Peralta, who wrote on his official Twitter profile that “pretending that this massive abatement is to maintain the ecological and hunting balance is an insult.”
The massacre also provoked complaints from local hunting associations. “#This is not hunting, this is a mass killing of confined animals. It’s anything “, Nelson Cadavez, president of the Monteiros do Norte Club, told the news Newspaper. His Spanish counterpart from the Extremadura Hunting Federation (one of the most important in Spain), José María Gallardo, declared to the newspaper The world that the hunters who participated in the hunt in Portugal “give a false and distorted image of what hunting and hunters represent today.”
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