At least 13 dead as hunters shoot people instead of animals

Hunter illustration 
By: Sanvi Rizvi 

At least 13 people were killed as hunters shot them instead of animals, according to reports.

Italian hunting enthusiasts have killed 13 people and injured 33 others in shooting accidents since the season opened in September, increasing the pressure to reform outdated hunting laws.

The death toll rose throughout the country this weekend when a 16-year-old girl was killed by a friend while hunting. A retiree was also shot and wounded in his garden and a bicyclist was hospitalized after being hit with shrapnel.

Hunting groups and environmentalists agree that the law, which allows hunters to roam free on private land and discharge firearms within 150 meters of a house should be changed.

However, the parties have entrenched themselves in a long-standing deadlock over how the law should change.
Among those calling for a total ban, is Daniela Casprini, the head of the Association of Victims of hunting.

"The question is no longer about who is and who is against hunting. This is to stop a absolute slaughter" Casprini said Monday.

Less than one in five Italians said they considered hunting to be an acceptable pastime in a survey by the Italian research group Eurispes last year.

The pro-hunting groups point to the need to control the populations of species such as wild boar, which can cause damage to agriculture.

However, the shooting of deer, rabbits and birds in the forests of the country is the subject of a dispute between a younger generation and environmentally sensitive aging hunters.

The number of hunters has declined sharply to around 700,000 from two million three decades ago, with most aged between 65 and 78, according to agricultural association Coldiretti.

The head of an animal rights group, Animalisti Onlus Italiani, said that the increase in accidents shows that legislation to protect rare wildlife was ineffective.

"This explains why the wolves, bears, eagles and other protected species are killed by firearms," Walter Caporale said.
"They shoot because something moves."