WWF: Italian regions make new laws for hunters during crisis

Coronavirus emergency has not stopped new regional laws in favour of hunters, say Italian wildlife agencies.

Italy's main animal welfare associations claim that measures in favour of hunting activities continue to be issued in various Italian regions, whose authorities are "taking advantage" of the public's reduced attention during the Covid-19 emergency.

Italian animal welfare associations including WWF Italia, ENPA, LAC, LAV, LIPU accuse certain regional authorities of introducing "unconstitutional" hunting laws, "in total contempt for the restrictive measures taken by the government."

Environmentalists state that the northern Veneto and Emilia Romagna regions have kept their “wildlife control plans” active, "with the help" of hunters who can "move within their respective provinces, despite the restrictions introduced to contain the spread" of the Coronavirus.

Meanwhile the northern Lombardy region - according to the wildlife associations - is challenging an order by TAR (the regional administrative court) that suspended sections of legislation permitting the killing of foxes in the province of Lodi. TAR ruled that the plan violated national laws on the protection of wild animals.

The Italian wildlife agencies claim that "unconstitutional" legislation has been approved in Sardinia, granting owners of agricultural land the right to allow hunters to shoot on their farms.

The associations also say that authorities in the northern region of Piemonte, "regardless of the already severe hunting pressure suffered by many species of wild birds and the calls of the European Union," have formulated a new bill that allows hunters to kill an additional 15 bird species, "many of which are in an unfavourable state of conservation", and cancelling legislation that would have allowed farm owners to prohibit hunting on their land.

The central Lazio region - according to the wildlife associations - has approved hunting in the "contiguous areas” of the Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park, home to the critically-endangered Marsican bear.

The associations conclude by saying that "all of these measures determine the illegitimate lowering of the level of protection of the environment and wildlife envisaged by national and supranational legislation", adding that this is a time "when we should all support the government's safety initiatives and work only and together for the common good."

For full statement see WWF website.