Opponents of hunting are often hermetically sealed against any arguments that hunters might advance. Regulation? They either do not believe in it or do not want to believe. The support it provides to farmers and breeders? An unacceptable rural conspiracy, and so on… Let it be; some people are simply impervious to reason. But another argument, this time one with numbers, lets us once again underline the indispensable character of hunting: its economic weight.
The report presented to the European parliament is eloquent! Hunting in Europe represents more than 16 billion EUR! Yes, that’s a huge sum. Just to make a comparison, that sum corresponds roughly to the GDP of a country like Iceland or Bosnia. With 16 billion, a glutton could buy 2 billion Big Macs and probably get a few fries thrown in for good luck.
France, driving force behind hunting in Europe
Within the Hexagon, hunting is the second sporting pastime after football. More than 1,100,000 French citizens hold a hunting licence, even if not all of them make use of it. It is therefore no surprise that France is the European country whose hunting sector has the highest economic turnover.
Hunting in France represents 3.6 billion EUR, including equipment, legal costs and dogs. The hunting microcosm employs some 25,800 people! Italy is the second-largest European market for hunting, with 3.26 billion EUR and 43,000 jobs. Then comes the United Kingdom with 3.2 billion EUR and 16,000 jobs. Germany follows (surprising, given the significant presence of their brands in the market for hunting clothing, weapons and ammunition and our Teutonic neighbours’ repugnance for price gouging) quite far behind, with a 1.6-billion EUR market share.
Potentially even more important figures
The report takes a series of criteria into account, but leaves others out of the picture. The economic value of voluntary work (very common) and certain amount of moonlighting (no, trackers, we’re not looking at you) have not been calculated. But specialists are of the opinion that the European numbers would then be significantly higher: we’re talking in the order of an additional 13 billion… That’s a lot more thorns in the feet of those seeking an end to our favourite pastime!
Hunting in the service of nature
The European biotope can count on many allies: 6.7 million hunters and 102,000 hunt-related jobs in the EU. And to those who accuse hunters of destroying nature, do not hesitate to give them this to chew on: according to the report, hunters are those who make the largest donations to environmental and rural heritage-preserving associations. In Germany, for example, hunters pull an annual average of 82.5 million EUR out of their pockets to protect the environment. In the UK that sum is even more significant: British hunters spend a staggering 295 million EUR per annum in the defence of the environment! It’s rather unlikely that even the most virulent opponents of hunting can boast of a similar contribution…