The Court of Auditors Investigates the Millions of Euros of Public Money Paid to Hunters

Court of Auditors investigates the public money to hunters in France

The institution is surprised that the public service missions entrusted to the federations of hunters are not better controlled, and that the latter do not report more on the use of the sums granted by the State.

Hunters don’t just kill animals. The law has in fact entrusted them with public service missions, such as the organisation of hunting, the installation of protective fences or the preservation of wildlife habitats. In exchange, the federations receive state funding, which has been increasing in recent years.

The problem is that the amounts granted and their use are not sufficiently justified, according to a report by the Court of Auditors published this morning. The investigation was launched in the summer of 2022 at the request of the collective “One day a hunter”, created after the accidental death of young Morgan Kean in 2020.

Tens of millions of euros paid each year

The National Federation of Hunters (FNC) receives 9 million euros per year since the hunting reform of 2019. This will be the case until 2024. This is compensation to manage hunting plans and approved communal hunting associations. Of this total, 6.9 million are paid directly to the departmental federations. But without justification of the costs, notes the Court of Auditors, even though this was provided for by law.

Other subsidies are paid by the State to national, regional and departmental federations. Limited, they amounted to 600,000 euros in 2021. There is also more substantial aid distributed by local authorities, the amount of which reached 6.1 million euros, also in 2021. Finally, in December 2022, additional credits made it possible to commit 18.6 million euros to the benefit of the departmental federations, to help compensate farmers who are victims of damage from big game.

The Court of Auditors is waiting for supporting documents

To end it all, the State promised at the beginning of the year to pay an additional 60 million euros over three years to the federal network of hunters , to reduce even more effectively the damage caused by big game. Which is strangling the Court of Auditors. “This commitment was made without prior analysis of the financial situation of the hunters’ federations, which is not threatened in the short term, and without measures to control the efficiency and effectiveness of their actions”, can we read in the report.

By killing animals among the 58 authorised species, hunters are supposed to contain their proliferation and thus maintain a balance between game, biodiversity and human activities. Except that the results of these samples would be insufficiently documented. The Court of Auditors also criticises the State for having abandoned the framing of these data. And now asks that we give more means and power to the agents of the French Office for Biodiversity (OFB) to control them. It will still be up to the hunting federations to account for their actions. By publishing, for example, moral reports, their accounts, auditor’s reports and the minutes of general meetings.

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