Romanian Hunting Party Draws Criticism

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Environmentalists criticise a hunting excursion for high-profile politicians and businessmen.

A hunting party in north-western Romania, which drew many local and foreign businessmen, ended on Sunday with what media and green activists called “true carnage”- over 150 wild boars were killed. The hunt was organised by tennis player turned businessman Ion Tiriac, who is also one of the country’s richest men.

Tiriac holds the lease to the Balc hunting facilities in north west Romania, where the gathering took place. With him were some 30 guests, including businessmen Wolfgang Porsche and Klaus Mangold of DaimlerChrysler, and Spanish banker Jose Merino Jimenez, according to local media reports.

“These kind of events are an excellent opportunity to socialise, make new friends and discuss politics or business,” said Elan Schwartzenberg, an Israeli with businesses in Romania, who was one of the few participants who agreed to speak about the hunting party.

While Ion Tiriac’s lawyers have argued that the boars are brought in from a local breeding facility and are not a protected species, environmentalists say the magnitude of the hunt and the involvement of so many top-level executives and politicians are matters of concern.

The international environmental group Vier Pfoten has criticised the size of the hunt. “It’s time that this kind of animal massacre comes to an end. We are not questioning the legality of this hunting event but its magnitude, as in the last six years around 1,200 wild boar were killed in the Balc contained area,” Veronica Tulpan, head of national program at the group, argued.

In the past, Romanian authorities also questioned the management of the animals in the Balc area and the legality of the contract under which the hunting ground was leased, though no irregularities were discovered.

In late 2004, the government of former prime minister Adrian Nastase granted Ion Tiriac a a 49-year lease on the Balc grounds without a public auction. Soon after Nastase lost elections but for several years he was among the participants at the hunting events in Balc.

In Romania, like in many other ex-communist countries, hunting has long been associated with the old nomenklatura. Former dictator Nicolae Ceausescu often hunted bears, wild boars, and black goats in the mountains.

Since 1990, hunting has become increasingly popular among rich foreigners and Romania’s nouveau riche and political elite.

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Uproar over pig-dogging ‘blood sport’

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“Those who intentionally sets their dogs, on a group of wild pigs, knowing full well the dogs are at risks of serious injury or even death…shouldn’t be owning any dogs! This is not a hobby, it’s a disgraceful blood sport, carried out in the name of entertainment, with ever greedy eyes, on the prize! They appear void of any respect for these animals, nor are they bothered about the pain & suffering they endure.!” 

Animal rights activists are up in arms over a brutal and highly aggressive form of hunting known as pigdoggingViewer discretion is advised 

Barbarity or Hobby?

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(Sorry don’t know why there are spaces above, don’t show up on edit page!)

The practice involves training dogs to hunt and kill wild boars and is the only form of conservation hunting in Australia that pits two animals against each other.

Some consider pig-dogging as the ultimate adrenalin rush – a man’s sport on which they spend tens of thousands of dollars a year.

Others, however, say it is nothing but animal torture.

And in a move that has outraged activists and politicians, hunters have been posting videos of the brutal killings on the internet.

Most of the videos obtained by 7.30 were too distressing to broadcast.

Some show feral pigs being grossly mutilated before being re-released into forests and hunters using staple guns to close the wounds of their maimed dogs.

One video shows hunters who have caught and trapped a group of wild pigs in the name of training.

Three pigs lie dead while a young feral pig is slowly mauled to death by a pup with minimal protective armour.

The pig-dogging enthusiasts in the video are just some of many that film their kills and post them online for other like-minded hunters to watch and enjoy.

The videos are taken down soon after they are posted, before the authorities have a chance to investigate.

‘Adrenalin rush’

Pig-doggers from around the country pour into the annual Dog A Hog competition, based about 65 kilometres west of Mackay in Queensland.

Most people at the hunt have been at it for 72 hours straight. For Ryan Berrigan, there is nothing better than the thrill of hunting and killing a pig.

Mr Berrigan spends tens of thousands a year on his hobby.

“It’s the best thing since sliced bread when you come across one. When your dog is swinging off a boar, there’s no better feeling that you get,” he said.

“You can put me on any show ride and any Disneyland parks or whatever you got, but it won’t give me the adrenalin that can. Nothing can.”

Hunters admit their dogs might get hurt but say the animals would not take part if they did not enjoy it.

Hunter Todd Hanson says it is a bigger rush hunting with a dog than using a gun.

“You’ve got to get in there and get amongst them and that. With a gun, you shoot and it’s dead,” he said.

Growing popularity

Pig-dogging is a sport that is drawing more competitors.

Hunter Greg McDaniel points to the size of crowds as an indicator of the sport’s growing popularity, comparing it to fishing.

“Sheilas do it. Sometimes it can gross out sheilas, but there’s plenty of soft blokes out there that get grossed out a bit,” he said.

Pig-dogging even has its own dedicated magazines; for the enthusiast, it is light reading.But it is the material showing up on the internet that concerns responsible hunters like Natalie Watson.

“There are a lot of people out there who don’t treat their dogs real well and that’s the big thing,” she said.

“And that’s where a lot of it comes from – people that abuse their dogs and also abuse the animals they catch, where they tie them up and let their dogs chew them up for hours and stuff like that.

“I have heard of that happening and there are quite a few people out there doing it, but they’re just the ones that spoil it for everyone else.”

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Cruelty to animals: 7 dogs die in fights with wild boars

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LAYYAH: As many as seven dogs died of injuries they suffered during fights with boars during a competition in Layyah on Sunday.

Cash prizes were also awarded to the owners of other dogs and the boars.

One of these, named Shangrila, a bull terrier, was declared the winner of the competition by a panel of judges. Shangrila had defeated a pair of boars to win the competition but later died of the injuries inflicted by the boars. The fight had continued for over half an hour.

Shangrila’s breeder Muhammad Saifuddin was awarded Rs500,000 prize money which he burnt during the ceremony in, what he said was a gesture to honour the dead dog.

He said his love for the dog was above the prize money. “If you love your dog, you don’t make it fight wild boars…moron!”

Cash prizes were also awarded to the owners of other dogs and the boars.

The fights, organised at Chak 145-TDA by Muhammad Sharif, included fights between pairs of dogs and a boar each. The final, however, involved only one dog fighting two boars.

Sharif said he had been arranging the fights every year in June for many years. He claimed that he had been bribing policemen of the area to be allowed to hold these competitions.

Sharif’s brother Muhammad Hanif said invitations were sent for the fight to  a select audience. “The breeders and their families come to witness these fight regularly. No persons allowed to the fights are uninvited,” he said.

Hanif said the boars that took part in the event were bred by him and his brother at their farm house and the dogs were brought from Paharpur sub district of Dera Ismaeel Khan.

Saddar station house officer Rab Nawaz Khetran rejected the bribery allegations as baseless. He said the police would raid the farm house in the morning and seize the boars. He said teams had already been constituted for the purpose. “There is no way we will allow such cruelty towards animals. I would have prevented the fight had I found out about it earlier,” he said. He said he had learnt about the fight from media reports.

Reza Khan, a veterinary surgeon who has been associated with animal welfare projects for over two decades, said pitting dogs against wild boars was extremely condemnable. He said animal fights were now prohibited in most countries. “A fight may be condoned if it is between comparable contestants. There is no way one can allow a fight between a dog and a wild boar,” he said. He said arranging the fights in extreme summer heat was also condemnable as dogs lacked the ability to sweat to stabilise their body temperature.

Several residents of Layyah also criticised the activity. Rana Khalid, a resident of the area, condemned the cruelty towards the animals and said that the fights also affected public order. “Most of the audience came with armed guards. The event affects the mobility of people living in the vicinity,” he said.

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News from The Associated Press

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ISLAMABAD (AP) — With a police officer wounded and the presidential palace breached, the Pakistani capital has launched a fresh offensive against a uniquely feared enemy in the Muslim country – the city’s ever expanding population of wild boar.

Each night, packs of the hairy beasts emerge from Islamabad’s river beds, parks and scrubland to rifle through the overflowing rubbish bins of its mostly wealthy residents and growing number of restaurants.AP Photo

City authorities are laying poison and have announced free hunting permits to cull the wild pigs‘ numbers. But to make sure residents don’t get caught in the crossfire, they only allow shotguns. There have been few takers. Hunters are wary of getting arrested by the police, or even worse – getting mistaken for a terrorist.

The animals can weigh up to 180 to 220 pounds (80 kilograms to 100 kilograms) and have razor sharp teeth. Adult males come armed with upward curving tusks. While they scurry off at the site of humans, they charge when cornered, alarmed or wounded and are a major cause of traffic accidents in the city.

The latest chapter of man versus hog played out in a city center police station last week.

“Someone shouted ‘watch your back’ but before I could look round the animal had hit me,” said Sajjad Hussain, who was on duty when the animal slipped in past the high, razor wire-topped blast walls after guards opened the gates to let in a car.

Hussain had a gash in his stomach that required eight stitches and is on medical leave.

via News from The Associated Press.

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