- This Friday, May 12, the Regional Council of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes voted in standing committee an extension to the aid granted to young people between 15 and 25 years old through the Pass'Région.
- This card, introduced in 2016, allows you to obtain discounts on a large number of cultural and sports activities.
- Why is it controversial? This aid concerns hunting and fishing licences. In three days, more than 25,000 people have signed a petition to oppose this measure which "incites young people to kill" according to the association that launched the petition.
- For EELV regional councillor Cécile Michel, this new measure for 15-25 year olds is also problematic because it promotes hunting. A sector, according to her, already well helped by the region, unlike others.
"Aberrant". Cécile Michel, from the EELV group in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, does not remember her words. She is "revolted" at the extension of an aid of 30 euros per year from the Pass'Région to obtain the hunting and fishing license. This card, intended for 15-25 year olds, allows 370,000 young people in the region to benefit from free textbooks, discounts on cinema tickets or the practice of sports activities. And soon, therefore, it will make it possible to handle the cane and the rifle at a lower cost.
For Marie-Pierre Montoro-Sadoux, vice-president of the region delegated to youth, family and seniors, in charge of the file, it is simply a question of "giving a boost" to the "diverse and varied" activities of young people. "Our ambition is simply to support the cost of practices for families," she explains. We do it for culture, sport, driving licenses in exchange for civic engagement. We do not forbid anything. »
A measure "welcomed" by the National Hunting Federation
But where does this sudden will come from? Not a significant number of practitioners in the area, says the vice president, who also specifies that she has no report or study on this subject. According to Le Dauphiné Libéré, 6% of current hunting license holders are between 15 and 24 years old in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. And the region is in third position in terms of "enthusiasts", with 138,000 hunters, all ages combined, behind Occitanie and Nouvelle-Aquitaine. The latter has 209,000 practitioners, according to Barnes properties and castles.
It is therefore "through the relationships maintained on a daily basis with families" that the idea germinated, says Marie-Pierre Montoro-Sadoux before admitting that "links with associations" also motivated the proposal. By "associations", it means in particular the Regional Hunting Federation to which the region has just renewed its "partnership" - of 3.26 million subsidies for a period of three years.
The world of hunting has also "welcomed" this ambition for the Pass'Région through its president, Willy Schraen. "To oppose this initiative of Laurent Wauquiez is to put his anti-hunting or anti-fishing ideology before the interest of young people," he reacted.
"Normalizing the practice of killing"
And there is opposition. In three days, more than 25,000 people signed a petition launched by the Association justice animaux Savoie (Ajas) to oppose the project. For its president, Pauline di Nicolantonio, this aid is "unacceptable".
"We do not question the Pass'Région but its instrumentalization, she develops. We cannot include hunting in the same way as other activities, it is normalizing a practice of killing. She points to "the image it conveys" of "putting guns in the hands of 15- or 16-year-old children." "There are so many other ways to know nature than hunting," she says.
A point of view shared by EELV regional councillor Cécile Michel. The latter recalls the "tragedies" that take place every year by hunters, stressing that the responsibility of politicians is "to avoid them, not to encourage them" through this "promotion" of hunting. Marie-Pierre Montoro-Sadoux simply replies that the ecologist's remarks are "an erroneous shortcut" and that "the practice is perfectly regulated".
More privileged sectors than others?
"There is no other region that bases its proposals so much on the Hunting Federation. It's a powerful lobby here," she laments. For her, the stakes go beyond the map dedicated to young people. "This 'boost' appears problematic when we see the inequalities in the granting of subsidies in other areas," says Cécile Michel. Before adding: "We recently saw that Laurent Wauquiez cut funding in sectors where critical thinking is exercised," referring to the field of culture.
This Friday, the permanent committee of the regional council halved the subsidy of the International Short Film Festival of Clermont-Ferrand, withdrew all regional aid to the Lyon Woodstower festival, as well as those dedicated to the New Generation theater of Lyon.
Faced with these criticisms, the region replies that it makes "no sense" to "compare actions in the direction of hunting and fishing and actions in the direction of culture". "Subsidies are not an annuity but the accompaniment of actions carried out in all territories. 60% of the subsidies concern metropolitan areas, the region is committed to rebalancing towards these territories. The budget for culture does not drop by a single euro," she said after 20 Minutes' requests.
- Laurent Wauquiez
- Europe Ecologie Les Verts (EELV)