Catalans to hunt wild boar with bows and arrows
Population control à la Robin Hood
The Catalan authorities have raised a few eyebrows with a plan to hunt wild boar with bows and arrows.
The powers that insist that the boars in the Parque Natural de Collserola have become a serious headache, with a burgeoning population increasingly making forays into neighbouring Barcelona.*
The problem is that the park is a protected area, in which the use of firearms is strictly prohibited.
Accordingly, the Catalan government is planning a "pilot scheme" to cull excess boars à la Robin Hood, defending that it's the "only effective control method".
Those wishing to try their hand at downing a jabalí with a bow will require a special permission which is "very restrictive" in terms of safety rules and limits on when and where the hunting is allowed.
The plan has not gone down well with animal rights groups. La Asociación en Defensa de los Animales (Animal Defence Association) declared: "Hunting with bow and arrow is a medieval practice which involves a slow and painful death."
The association reckons it's "surprising that Catalonia is allowing hunting with bow and arrow at the same time that it's establishing itself as a society at the forefront of animal rights".
This is a reference to Catalonia's controversial decision to ban bullfighting, although many consider that simply a political move designed to underline that Catalans are less Spanish than the rest of Spain. ®
*In 2009, there were 199 "incidents" involving wild boar penetrating the Barcelona suburbs. Between January and September 2010, this jumped to 540, meaning roughly a threefold increase in incursions for the year as a whole.