Livestock: “The State must act” against griffon vulture attacks

the essential
Faced with the resurgence of attacks in Nord-Aveyron, the breeders yesterday invited the State representative to the site of the last attack to make a series of proposals to her to curb the phenomenon.

Leave the green pastures of Aubrac to shelter the herd in the stable, as the neighboring breeder has just done, or leave the 145 cows in the pastures, between the stations of Aubrac and Cantal, and risk another vulture attack: the 8th this year at home. The question haunted the mind of Régis Chardaine yesterday, the breeder who owns the herd victim of the latest attack. As such, it was at his home yesterday morning that the union officials of the Young Farmers (JA) and the FDSEA, as well as officials of the chamber of agriculture met the secretary general of the prefecture, Michèle Lugrand. The opportunity for breeders to share their exasperation with him “in the face of these increasingly frequent attacks – around fifteen this summer”, and ask him that “actions are taken to stop them” (see elsewhere).

Five calves killed

Régis Chardaine has taken over the reins of the family farm for eleven years, and this is the first time that griffon vultures have attacked his animals. “Live calves”, he specifies to underline the deviant character of these birds of prey which usually feed on carrion. “They also sometimes attack injured animals. But in living and healthy animals it is quite rare I think”, estimates the operator who was able to observe the birds of prey in action above his herd. “Dozens of birds of prey approach the beasts while hovering. These birds are up to 3 meters in wingspan. This frightens the herd which leaves in all directions. The ground is rough. There are holes. Some calves are injured. and there, if there is no one to intervene, it’s over for the one on whom the raptors have set their sights “, he says, lamenting the loss of five calves. “Three others were injured”, adds Régis Chardaine, estimating his losses “already more than 20,000 euros”.

Proliferation of vultures

And that’s without counting the possible future abortions that these repeated attacks and the stress they generate are sure to produce. Like diseases elsewhere “, he continues, pointing to water points soiled by the droppings of raptors, or even the meadow. “I can show you areas of over 1000 m2 covered in droppings and fuzz. Cows cannot graze this.”, concludes the annoyed man.

At his side, union officials denounce a situation that continues to worsen with attacks by vultures also reported in Cantal, Lozère or Haute-Loire. “ We have nothing against raptors, JA president Romain Déléris immediately specifies. But it has been observed in recent years that they have proliferated so much that they can no longer find food in their natural habitat in the Grands Causses. In search of food, they go where they find it. Like here in North Aveyron, where we had never seen it before. From now on, the raptors settle here by the dozen for the whole summer to the dismay of the breeders, more and more numerous to deplore the attacks. So now we have to act “, summarized the president of the JA before making proposals in this direction to the representative of the State.