Italy Eases Hunting Rules to Fight Wild Boar ‘Invasion’

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ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s ruling right-wing coalition is set to loosen hunting rules to deal with what the country’s farming lobby calls an “invasion” of wild boars.

The boars are common in the countryside, but have recently also been spotted in central parts of Rome, attracted by the Eternal City’s chronically overflowing rubbish skips.

In a change sponsored by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy (FDI) party, the capture and culling of wild animals will be allowed in urban and protected areas.

Local and regional police officers, as well as national forest police and licensed private hunters may partake in the campaigns.

The measure is contained in an amendment to the draft 2023 budget, seen by Reuters on Wednesday. The budget is set to be approved before the end of the year.

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The amendment also states that hunted wild animals may be eaten, provided that health authorities deem them safe for human consumption.

Farmers’ lobby Coldiretti welcomed the reform, saying it was badly needed “with Italy being invaded by 2.3 million wild boars in cities and the countryside.”

The boars are getting “ever closer” to homes, schools and parks, destroy crops, attack farm animals and cause road accidents, Coldiretti President Ettore Prandini said.

FDI lawmaker Francesco Michelotti said only those who are motivated by “blind environmental ideology” or who live in posh urban areas could oppose the measure.

Green party leader Angelo Bonelli called it a sop to the hunting lobby and said it would breach the Italian constitution and EU nature conservation rules.

“We will put up a fight in parliament, but we have a complaint ready for the European Union,” Bonelli said, adding he was sure that Brussels would take legal action against Italy.

(Reporting by Alvise Armellini, editing by David Evans)

Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.

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