Protesting Walloon farmers call for 80%-reduction of wild boar population

Wednesday, 28 November 2018 19:55
Protesting Walloon farmers call for 80%-reduction of wild boar population © Belga
Some 150 farmers protested on Wednesday outside the Office of Wallonia’s Minister of Agriculture, Rene Collin, to press a demand for the region’s boar population to be slashed by 80%.
The protest, organised by the Walloon Agricultural Federation (FWA), was held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

On Tuesday, Minister Collin announced that Wallonia’s goal was to reduce the boar population by 50% by April 2020. A meeting was held to enable each party to lay out its position, and the Wallonia Inter-Environment Federation as well as representatives of the region’s forestry sector participated.

The farmers are afraid of the consequences that African swine fever can have for their livestock. They also say boars cause much damage to their operations, leading to considerable losses. “We’re sitting on a health-related time bomb,” said FWA Secretary-General Yvan Hayez. “The general overpopulation of boars increases the risk of contamination for pig farms. Stronger measures are needed.”

In addition to raising the number of boars each hunter can kill, the FWA is calling for new resources for reaching the boars and keeping them in check.

In the present situation, the Federation finds a 50% cull impossible to achieve, especially since some hunters do not respect the rules, yet the FWA wants the ceiling raised to 80% and, for that, it is asking for a total ban on feeding the animals outside of the African swine fever plan.

For Inter-Environnement Wallonia, the proliferation of wild boars has a marked impact on biodiversity. Forestry companies are also concerned since the animals cause damage on their lands. Moreover, those bordering the infected area are now off limits.

For the Agriculture Minister, the 50% target is in fact ambitious. “I would love to have announced 80% but we have to remain realistic,” he said. “We’ve already taken new measures and we’ll continue to take them.”

Every area concerned by the proliferation of the board is to have three days of collective hunting in January and February. The organisation of collective hunts will also be simplified.

Further, Minister Collin has asked his administration to do a continuous monitoring of kill counts and an assessment of the wild pigs’ reproductive rates in 20 representative locations. Other planned measures include night hunting and a ban on keeping maize plants after their harvesting dates.

Regarding a total ban on feeding, Minister Collin said he was open to discussion on the issue after the current hunting period. He also recalled that feeding the boars enables one to bring them together more quickly and thus, to cull them.

"The problem of the boars’ overpopulation should not cause any controversy,” he said. “It’s a sustainable, collective effort that will enable us to achieve our objectives.”

Christopher Vincent
The Brussels Times
Google Plus

More Stories

Serious doubts over fingerprints on ID cards

Serious doubts over fingerprints on ID cards

A study by a group of experts has shot down government plans to include fingerprints on Belgium's electronic identity cards, describing the idea as “unnecessary and dangerous”.

About 100 children given up for adoption in Wallonia and Brussels in 2018

About 100 children given up for adoption in Wallonia and Brussels in 2018

In 2018, 96 children were given up for adoption in the French Community, Belga news agency reported on Friday, quoting figures from the Office of minister of youth Rachid Madrane.

Brussels climate marchers move on to Paris

Brussels climate marchers move on to Paris

Some 200 young people, including Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg and her Belgian counterparts, Adelaïde Charlier, Kyra Gantois and Anuna de Wever, participated on Friday in Paris in the second day of a French youth-for-climate rally.