Cruelty or tradition? We speak with animal activist Andrea Manzano and hunter Antonio Reyes.
Hunting is a complex, divisive issue. When the sound of gunshots rings out on the island every winter, it reminds us there is a serious debate to be had about the activity. On one side hunters argue for tradition and animal management. On the other, animal lovers say hunting involves animal cruelty and unnecessary suffering. NATIV presents both viewpoints for you to consider.
Andrea Manzano is the delegate in Ibiza for the Animal Advocacy Association of the Balearic Islands (Assaib). She completely opposes hunting and explains that it cannot be considered a sport. “Sport is about everyone participating, and no one has asked the animals if they want to participate. In fact, they would say no, as nobody wants to be hunted.”
Antonio Reyes is the delegate in Ibiza for the Balearic Hunting Federation. He says hunting “has always existed” on the island and that it is now “more regulated than ever” in terms of the safety distances that must be maintained between hunting activities and homes, roads and trails. “It is a legal activity that helps with the environmental conservation of the island,” he says, explaining that the “density of the game population is more than sufficient thanks to the selfless work of hunters.”
NATIV: Cruelty or tradition, Andrea?
“There is no space for hunting in Ibiza.” It is a territory where “it is impossible” for people who want to “be left in peace” to coexist with those who practisse hunting.
Hunting “is not necessary” now like it was in the past when people hunted to eat. “They hunt for the sake of hunting. In the countryside you find birds lying around and rabbits they don’t even bother picking up.”
Many hunters shoot other animals such as dogs and cats “in cruel ways” and associations retrieve them full of buckshot and even dead.
Animal advocacy groups also receive numerous complaints from locals and residents about hunters’ dogs entering unfenced properties and attacking other animals.
Despite the complaints, the Consell de Ibiza “does nothing and continues to facilitate hunting.” Laws must be put in place to protect the podenco and other dogs used in the practice, although the dream is for “hunting to disappear from the island.”
NATIV: Cruelty or tradition, Antonio?
“Hunting is more necessary than ever” and farmers and agricultural cooperatives should be consulted about it. “In the past, it was also a subsistence tool. Fortunately, today it is a sports activity.” And soon “it will also be a business activity” since hunters “are insufficient to help” with pest control in agriculture.
“It is categorically false that animals are not collected and left in the field” and that hunters “indiscriminately kill dogs and cats in a cruel manner”. Hunters carry out their activity on land authorized for hunting and that “anyone who does not comply with the rules isn’t a hunter, but a poacher.”
The Consell de Ibiza “has always supported the community”. If all the technical reports “endorse this support, there must be a reason.”
“The quiet work that hunters do in the field 365 days a year can be seen and verified. But it is all too easy to spread rumours.”