Wildlife protection groups are protesting against a decree giving hunters permission to use silencers on their guns.
Both Aspas and the Fondation 30 Millions d’Amis labelled the move ‘madness’ and a petition calling on Ecology Minister Nicolas Hulot to reverse it was signed by 74,000 people.
Hunters have long campaigned for the move in a bid to protect hearing as headphones and earplugs can be difficult to use. The silencers do not deaden the 130decibels sound completely, but reduce it by 20db and are common in other European countries, including the UK.
Wildlife group Aspas said the move would help hunters kill more animals as they would not hear the first shots and would not flee to safety.
They denounced a ‘present’ for hunters and a bonus for poachers that would make the job of ONCFS countryside wardens more difficult – and endanger the lives of people out walking.
30 Millions d’Amis said the move was slipped out just before Christmas and put both hunters and nature-lovers in danger.