- Title: Roe-deer hunting on horseback with hounds booming in France
- Date: 21st October 2016
- Summary: CHANTILLY, FRANCE (OCTOBER 12, 2016) (REUTERS) HUNTERS ON HORSEBACK PLAYING HORN
- Embargoed: 5th November 2016 12:55
- Keywords: hunting hounds hunters roe-deer France riding
- Location: PARIS AND CHANTILLY, FRANCE
- City: PARIS AND CHANTILLY, FRANCE
- Country: France
- Topics: Living/Lifestyle,Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA00154Y7PSP
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Banned in much of Europe, roe-deer hunting on horseback with hounds is enjoying such renewed interest in France that some companies are marketing one-off outings to non-specialists, some riding in carriages.
Affluent consumers increasingly prefer spending on such lifestyle experiences as hunting, travel and pricey meals rather than on luxury "stuff" like handbags and jewellery, analysts say, and the trend shows no sign of abating.
French companies such as "Horse-Riding with Princes", now offer people the chance to join hunts with dogs, either on horseback or following behind a carriage.
"I invited friends who knew nothing about hunting to come along and they liked these hunts so much that I made it my job and from that came the idea to create 'Horse-Riding With Princes', offering another range of experiences on horseback," said Maite Boyer, founder of 'Horse-Riding With Princes' which organizes roe-deer hunts in the forest of Chantilly, north of Paris.
As opposed to other forms of hunting authorized in France involving arrows, birds of prey or firearms, it is not a person who kills the animal but the hounds, who in turn feed on it as a reward, in a tightly regimented ceremony.
"There are opponents," the head of France's Hunting with Hounds Association Pierre de Boisguilbert said.
"There is a public sensitivity in France today, fuelled by animal rights movements, all inspired by Anglo-Saxon countries, with the result that the relationship between man and animal has changed," he added.
Nevertheless, de Boisguilbert said the number of hunters with hounds has more than doubled in the past 40 years to around 10,000 in France, and the number of followers on foot and bicycles has risen to 150,000.
"Hunters are in love with their dogs, with their land, with their space, with their animals and when we put an animal to death, we do it with respect," de Boisguilbert said.
French enthusiasm for this form of hunting dates to the 16th century under King Francis I, who ordered circles cut out in forests with paths criss-crossing through the middle of them to help hunters pinpoint animals being chased and hounds to trap them.
France is the only country in the world with such patterns hewed into its woodland, and it hosts around 390 officially registered hunts, nearly half of them focused on roe deer.
There are around 340 hunts in Britain. Though they were banned in 2004 after protracted parliamentary debate, they have continued thanks to legal loopholes. The practice has been prohibited in Germany since 1934 under then-Nazi rule.
France has more than 1 million registered hunters, the most in Europe, and they comprise its second biggest lobby group after farmers.
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