Over 360,000 signatures: this is what the European Federation for Hunting and Conservation (FACE) handed to the Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Virginijus Sinkevičius, during EU Green Week 2023. FACE is the voice of Europe’s hunters representing 7 million hunters, and the signatures are those of the “SignForHunting” campaign, the first large-scale petition launched by Europe’s hunting community that asks the main European institutions to improve collaboration with hunters for nature conservation and the future of hunting. Because contrary to what some ideologues claim, hunters are not the problem but are part of the solution instead.
The unprecedented initiative saw hunters achieve one of the biggest environmental campaigns in Brussels, which includes a clear call of support for the EU’s nature restoration law proposal. In detail, the campaign is a call on legislators to work with FACE and hunters to better recognise the contribution which hunters make. Not just a strong offer of support to European institutions but also a request for policy change since, as FACE denounces on the SignForHunting website, “some policy-makers are working against hunting in Brussels. Important hunting practices are being unnecessarily restricted. Pressure is being applied to suspend hunters’ management of large carnivores in some countries, even when hunters have been key to recovery of populations”. Moreover, the “SignForHunting” campaign reinforces hunters’ role as stewards of the environment, thereby representing a crucial step in addressing the goals of the Biodiversity Strategy for 2030.
SignForHunting campaign, a massive mobilization of Europe’s hunters
The signatures gathered highlight the collective voice of Europe’s hunters, their stand for sustainable hunting, and their commitment to conservation and the promotion of hunting’s important cultural heritage. “We are thrilled to see such a massive mobilization of Europe’s hunters,” said Torbjörn Larsson, President of FACE. “This is not just a big win for hunters, but for nature and conservation efforts across Europe. It's also a testament to the power of our diverse community, who are not typically signing petitions, and Europe’s national hunting associations, as well as their commitment to the preservation of our natural and cultural heritage”.
Environment Commissioner, Virginijus Sinkevičius stated: "I am happy for the opportunity to officially receive the signatures of FACE’s petition on nature conservation. Many of the requests contained in your petition demonstrate our shared concern and determination to successfully address the challenge of halting and reversing the dramatic loss of biodiversity in this decade. We count on FACE to support our current policies and proposed legislation, in particular on nature restoration".
"We are confident that this successful campaign will continue to encourage dialogue and foster cooperation among all stakeholders to shape a future where nature conservation and sustainable hunting go hand in hand,” President Larsson concluded.