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Beavers and bisons on the menu? Outrage after agriculture minister's plans

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Polish minister of agriculture wants bisons and beavers to become game speciesTVN24 News in English
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Together with the minister of environment, we're discussing how to, under full supervision, change the qualification of beaver and place it on the list of game species - said the minister of agriculture, Jan Krzysztof Ardanowski on Friday. He added that he wants "this animal to be used for culinary purposes". Earlier on, he said the same thing about bisons. "We're starting another dispute with the EU," said Professor Rafał Kowalczyk from the Polish Academy of Sciences.

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The minister of agriculture Jan Krzysztof Ardanowski, already in May, spoke in the Sejm about taking steps to place beavers and bisons on "the list of edible animals".

"Another dispute with the EU"

As Professor Rafał Kowalczyk from the Institute of Mammalian Biology at the Polish Academy of Sciences in Białowieża told TVN24 on Friday, there's no such thing as "the list of edible animals". "Maybe the minister had game species in mind. If so, than certainly he can make such decision," he added.

He pointed out, however, that "beaver and bison are strictly protected species and very important from the European perspective".

"Placing these animals on the game species list is practically impossible and certainly would be very difficult, as we would start another dispute with the EU, if we wanted to push this through," he said.

"Ministerial oddity"

Ardanowski's words outraged Civic Platform - Civic Coalition MPs: Gabriela Lenartowicz and Stanisław Gawłowski.

Lenartowicz said on Friday in the Sejm that the minister "thinks that by increasing popularity of hunting protected species, by annoucning their meat as edible and as having aphrodisiac qualities, he will force hunters to cull the species, because it seems that already issued consents aren't enough," said the MP. "It's a real oddity for a constituational minister - I can only explain it with the recent heat wave," she added.

Ardanowski said that beaver meat "apparently has aphrodisiac qualities" during press conference in May in the Sejm.

"The minister has become a shaman, a witch doctor," said Gawłowski. "He speaks about aphrodisiacs and he's serious," he added.

Gawłowski, a former deputy environment minister in PO-PSL cabinet, reassured that beaver meat has no aphrodisiac qualities. "Beaver is a protected animal. Even if some areas of Poland are overpopulated by beavers and if they sometimes cause some damage to the anti-flooding infrastructure, these matters can be dealt with in another ways," added the Civic Platform MP.

Beavers "for culinary purposes"

On Friday morning, minister Ardanowski clarified his plans regarding beavers.

"Together with the minister of environment, we're discussing how to, under full supervision, change the qualification of beaver and place it on the list of game species. In other words, so that it will be legal to hunt these species under specific environmental regulations," said Ardanowski.

The minister wants "this animal to be used for culinary purposes". "I don't see this idea as absurd, but rather as something vary rational and logical," he explained.

What the minister said earlier?

The debate about the fate of beavers and bisons began after the minister's speech were made public.

"There's a problem with protected animals. Basically, it's more difficult to find hunters willing to execute the culling, than to grant consent for shooting. For intance, the Regional Environment Boards granted permission for culling a few thousand beavers and no one wants to hunt them. The consent is still valid," he said.

"That's why I decided to declare beaver and bison as edible animals. It just may turn out that there will be people willing to hunt, because now it's rather unclear what to do with a beaver once hunted," said the minister.

"Furthemore, when people will realize that beaver tail is believed to have aphrodisiac qualities, the beaver problem may be over sooner than expected," he added.

"We need to regulate the animal population. If don't do it then not only we disobey what was written in Genesis: "fill the earth and govern it", but we also allow overpopulation that harmful to agriculture," he argued.

"However, we put forward this idea together, also to environmental organisations. Not everything can be pushed with a bill, decree, order or ordinance. We must convince the society. The interest of farmers must be explained to our brothers, sisters and cousing in the cities, because they simply don't undestand," minister Ardanowski convinced.

Autor: gf / Źródło: TVN24 News in English

Źródło zdjęcia głównego: tvn24