In Spain there are 725,000 hunting licenses, that is, 725,000 people hunting more or less frequently. And they have families, which makes up a heterogeneous social group of some three million pissed off people, with nothing in common except their ‘hobby’. That is, hunting. Although also the defense of a way of life that is derived from the rural, which is inseparable from it and which, therefore, perceives the attacks of the animalists like the attacks of an urban society that does not know everything about the countryside and that only understands it as a theme park, as a photographic set to wear ocher clothes with a fireplace in the background and as a setting for garlic soups during bridges and
Long weekends, whatever that means.
Hunters do not share ideology, origin or socioeconomic status and, if they did, they would show a bias towards the lower classes, towards the most humble of society, farmers and ranchers who, from the villages, are in charge of being cold, hot and enslaved with hardly any labor rights to be able to fill the pantries of those urbanites ‘malaañeros’ that, as thanks, they call them assassins, ultras and fachas. And if the hunters are fundamentally humble people, the position of the left on this matter is even less understood, the frontal attack of the coalition government towards the true ‘outcasts of the earth’. It is seen that some have forgotten that, in their flag, what there is is a sickle. And that its purpose is not to hit the peasants with it.
And it is that, in reality, the hunter is very far from the cliché with which the animalist ‘lobby’ and its interests try to ridicule them, you know, that fat gentleman who gets a roe deer tied to a tree so that he only has to shoot and turn immediately with a cigar in his mouth to mistreat his employees while burning 500 bills. The reality is different and, in Spain, the normal thing is a hunter of the shotgun and dog, who lives in his town or who visits it frequently because he is the origin of his parents or grandparents, who knows and respects the countryside better than anyone and who practices hunting -especially lesser- as one more activity derived from the countryside , of the rural, of his way of life, of his love for nature and for well-understood environmentalism, that environmentalism of Delibes and popular wisdom that is so far removed from the capital demagoguery.
They are not only very angry, but fed up with the attacks, hatred and contempt they receive from society. And not only from civil society, but also from the Government, which has decided to join the coven through the proposal of a new controversial legislation that undoubtedly marks a definitive disconnect between the countryside and the city. Hunters have long felt criminalized, because keeping urban society and some belligerent minorities happy necessarily implies crushing them. Who is really happy with the ban on wolf hunting? Certainly not the people of the country, who see how the wolf eats the cattle. Who is happy with the hunting ban in national parks? Certainly not to the population that lives in those areas and that has created, over the centuries, extensive livestock and grazing, an appropriate space for enjoyment. They receive constant death threats, direct attacks and have even demanded that the Penal Code classify such attacks as hate crimes. But it seems that hunters do not matter, they are not people, only murderers. Even the Associations of Mothers and Fathers of Students, the AMPAS, often refuse that hunters can go to schools to explain to children basic concepts of the field and animals. They feel stinky.
And the draft bill on animal welfare comes to finish them off. Among other things, it is proposed the prohibition of herds, the mandatory castration of dogs for anyone who is not a breeder, the determination of ‘zoological nucleus’ from the fifth dog, the minimum age of 18 months for the dogs’ to work ‘, their’ retirement ‘at seven years or the prohibition to leave them alone for more than 24 hours. That is to say, a series of measures that equate the work animal to the domestic animal and even, on occasions, put them above the human being himself. It is the triumph of ‘mascoterism’ that not only turns all living beings into pets, but also puts people at the service of animals and not the other way around. As Felipe Vegue, president of the National Office for Hunting and Arrecal, affirms: «The ‘mascoterismo’ is invading everything. And that is a perversion that tries to make animals feel what we want to feel. But animals are man-made products, one more product of the land, with all the animal welfare that we want, but a product at our service. We can never be at the service of animals, this is an intellectual and moral aberration. And if this is happening, if we are humanizing animals, it is as a consequence of the way of life we have in cities, more and more alone, with less and less friends and less affection. The animal serves to alleviate this and it is very well. But another thing is to humanize them. Animals are not little people: they are animals. What they want is to return to the origin of the totem, a totem to adore, which are pets, and this will mean the rupture of the rural world with the urban world, because the urban world needs pets for a way of life and not he sees animals as animals, but the countryside needs animals for something else, not as pets but as production, working animals. And what do I do with a seven-year-old retired dog? The law they want to take out requires me to even have a specific air conditioning, a heating and air conditioning system that even children in schools do not have. We are crazy? The implantation of these measures supposes the effective aim of the hunting in Spain ».
Demonstration of 20-M
For this reason, the National Hunting Office (ONC) has already called a demonstration in Madrid for March 20. «It is the tiredness of not being able to have a vision of the future, not being able to invest in what the rural world is most passionate about, which is to continue living their land in their own way and not as the posh urbanites tell them. Continue living the way they have always lived, in the area where they were born. This is the hypocrisy of Podemos, which comes to tell us that with them we will be happier and we will create a better society while they are destroying our usual way of life and they leave us no horizon other than poverty, unemployment and despair. They want our extinction based on putting restrictions on us that make activity impossible. That is why we have no choice but to go out and defend ourselves from those who attack us, “they say.
The anger is understandable. The legislation that the Government is trying to implement intends, among other things, that the protectors themselves can presume crimes and act like a pseudo-police in the records, along with law enforcement. In other words, a political Gestapo in which the animal protectors are judge and party, which eliminates the basic principle of equality of arms and generates absolute defenselessness in the accused.
The ONC requests that hunting dogs be classified as auxiliary animals and not as pets. But in reality, they admit that it is not enough. First are the bulls, then the hunt and little by little they advance in a denaturing of the human being until they reach what they really pursue. As it says Chapu Apaolaza, spokesperson for the Toro de Lidia Foundation, “the freedom debate cannot be approached from personal taste. The reality is that animals, and even less wild ones, do not have the right to life and what is intended by animalists is to impose on the rest their criteria of sensitivity, aesthetics and affinity, prohibiting everything that does not fit with its standards and imposing what does do it ».
In reality, what is at stake is not only hunting, but the human way of life, the fact of dominating nature, dominating animals and putting them at your service. «If you don’t know what cold, heat, sweat are, work with your hands, be aware of whether it is going to rain or not, of the conditions that have shaped the essence of the human race, it will be difficult for you to understand hunting or anything, “says Vegue. You won’t even understand who you are. To deny the hunt is to deny the human being, because to mold yourself as a person you have to know how our race has been shaped, which has also been through hunting and the domination of nature. Man is man by nature, the animal is animal by nature and the domestic animal is by the service it gives to man. That service, as long as it is useful, ensures its existence. But a species that is not useful to humans is a matter of time before it disappears, “concludes the president of the National Hunting Office.
From the Toro de Lidia Foundation they share arguments against animalism. Chapu Apaolaza affirms that «in reality, it is the end of our way of life, because animalism is a belief that maintains that man is the same as animal and that not only affects hunting or bulls but also cheese factories, livestock, to an industry that makes Spain consume 700 million animals a year, to Madrid Fusión, to the butchers, to the restaurants and to my mother, who is a murderer when she makes a lasagna ».
Hope despite everything
Still, Felipe Vegue admits to having faith that the law does not get passed. “The previous demonstration we did cost Narbonne her job. We bring together more than 400,000 people. And this year we are going to get more than a million. And we are going to collapse Madrid. And we are going to demand the resignation of Belarra, because the 2030 Agenda in Europe does not say what Podemos claims it does. He does not intend to make us slaves to animals. And because they are also going to face not only the hunters but also the unions, since the agrarian policies and the policies of the rural world are being directed towards the sentiment that emanates from the cities. The Agrarian Association of Young Farmers (Asaja) and Union of Small Farmers and Ranchers (UPA) they are going to support us for sure, because they have no choice. And the bullfighting world. And I’m sure they won’t be able to pull it off. But for this we need social response. When they see that the people are against them, the PSOE will have no other choice, because the field is full of PSOE people who hunt. Even the presidents of Extremadura and Castilla-La Mancha have openly positioned themselves in favor of hunting. The PSOE knows that any movement of its partners can take its toll on them and they continue to be more afraid of losing the majority than of making an agreement with the rural world. But people are raising their voices and ever louder in favor of the rural world and the world of hunting. This discordant element will reach the Council of Ministers and it may be that this draft law will be withdrawn before we hit the streets, which is what we want. But that’s only if we manage to bring together the rural world, of course. If we take a defeatist, conformist, passive and passive attitude, they can with us and much more ».
We will see where does the discontent. Who knows if the breakdown of the coalition comes where it is least expected. And perhaps empty Spain is not as empty as some think.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism