*Watch the Opening Ceremony speeches on the CIC Youtube Channel.
The 65th General Assembly of the International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation under the motto “Hunting: Facts or Fables?” was organized in Madrid, Spain on the 4th- and 5th of May. During the two day event, the participants discussed and deliberated the aspects of hunting, which are currently under attack by its opponents. George Aman, President of the CIC underlined that it is important that hunters are on the right track and that the continuous falsehoods are losing their credibility more and more. He added “The tireless efforts of the CIC, from the local to international levels, to hold discussions on sustainable use have started to get the ball rolling towards greater acceptance. Agreement is not sought, as agreement can be a very personal thing, but understanding and acceptance of the facts and dismantling of the fables is necessary. Let us use this time together in Madrid to build on the fruitful discussions we had in Montreux and continue to stand up for what is truly right and ask: is it a FACT or is it a FABLE?”
Luis de la Pena, the Head of the CIC Spanish Delegation pointed out that 47 years passed since the last general assembly has been organized in Spain.
He added that as hunting is part of Spanish culture and their tradition, the rural word of Spain is not able to survive without it. “We are very proud of those private land owners who have devoted their efforts to sustain wildlife. This is truly the land of hunting.”
Director General Esperanza Orellana, Rural Development and Forest Policy of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Food, and Environment in her welcome remarks underlined that hunting actively contributes to the active growth of rural territories, and noted that the CIC is a remarkable feature, and a compelling voice of hunting organizations and individuals.
She added: “Hunting: facts or fables helps to dismantle fables which discredit the hunting sector.“ mentioning that hunting has a special relevance for Spain, as more than 13% of Spanish land areas have been dedicated to protection and conservation purposes, and it has 11 natural parks. “There is a challenge in making protection compatible with growth and well-being of local populations. 80% of land is suitable for hunting in Spain creating more than 186,000 jobs, which justifies the support of the MAPAMA. Beyond economic figures, we must consider the contribution of hunting to society. Spain is threatened by depopulation in rural areas and hunting is an engine of activity in these regions, generating wealth and jobs which may otherwise disappear. Considering the above, we believe we can promote and boost hunting activity in Spain. Spanish national hunting strategy includes the participation of all stakeholders. I thank you, on behalf of government of Spain, for being here with us today.”
Carlos Espinosa de los Monteros, the High Commissioner for Marca Espana in his opening address that reiterated that 47 years have passed since the last CIC General Assembly in Spain, and that he hopes that much time won’t pass before the next one! “It’s a privilege to welcome you here, in the land of hunting, where people are passionate about the game. We are surrounded by friends and nature, and we want to make sure that hunting stays a sustainable activity. Facts or fables is the right approach of what it is. It boosts the economy, it is a sport, and also a way of living for rural communities”
José Ramón Lete, State Secretary of Sports (Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports) stressed that hunting is fundamentally important to conservation, not only a passion. He added that passion for hunting is inseparable from the human condition. It is a historical and global practice which can only be understood with absolute respect for nature. Hunters are one of the first defenders of our natural environment. “We want a world where wildlife is conserved as part of nature for the benefit of society as a whole, and for the future generations. How can we protect it? How can we stop the degradation of planet?” He highlighted that finding the answers must be the priority. He added that hunting surely contributes to the conservation of nature, as the protection of wildlife is carried out through the control of overpopulation. “87% of Spain’s territory is a hunting land, but hunting is not only a sport, it is also an industry that generates 180,000 jobs and favors the development of rural areas with investments of 300 million EUR in conserving our environment.”