Many thanks to activist Violette in France for her kind words about Slavica; and for sending this over: Regards Mark
Turkey: Two videos show brown bears tortured by hunters
In recent weeks, two videos showing hunters shooting or torturing bears have caused outrage in Turkey. Animal rights groups denounce laws protecting this species that are not strict enough and a feeling of impunity among hunting enthusiasts, who are relatively few in the country.
Both videos circulated in WhatsApp groups before being reported to the Turkish association Haytap (Federation for Animal Rights – Turkey), which posted them on its Facebook page on 9 and 12 July.
The first video shows a bear visibly injured and covered in blood in the head and upper
body. There are at least two male voices commenting on the scene, one of them commands a dog: “Attack, attack”. A dog then bites the bear, followed by a second. At one point, a hunter armed with a rifle can be seen walking a few metres from the bear, who does not shoot to finish off the injured animal.
According to the Haytap association, the scene took place about two months ago in the village of Arhavi, in the northeastern province of Artvin.
The second video shows two men holding the corpse of a class and having fun hitting his head while uttering insults.
According to Haytap, the video was also filmed about two months ago in the village of Agaçseven, in Trabzon province, also in the north-east of the
country. One of the shoemakers refers to the beginning of the video to the Ramadan period, which took place from April 23 to May 23. Both videos have been viewed hundreds of thousands of times on social media and have been the subject of several television topics.
“These hunters take pleasure in torturing animals”
The Haytap association has filed a complaint against these hunters and hopes to obtain firm prison sentences against them, thus creating a legal precedent. Ahmet Kemal Senpolat is President of Haytap and lawyer:
For each of the videos, we filed a complaint against two individuals, thanks to the report of the inhabitants. Bears are protected by law in Turkey, there are about 3,000 left and are mainly located in the Northern Black Sea region where both videos were filmed.
We hope that this time the law will be enforced and that they will receive firm prison sentences, not simple fines as is the case when there are cases of torture against domestic animals such as cats or
The videos are terrible and show, in our opinion, that these hunters take pleasure in torturing
animals. In Turkey, there is a great deal of sensitivity on these issues and it was villagers from these regions who saw the videos circulated on WhatsApp groups who reported them to us. They did not dare to raise the alarm themselves for fear of reprisals from the hunters. Despite the precautions they took, they told us that they still received threats when both cases were published in the open and the videos were broadcast on television.
“These conflicts could be avoided if their natural habitat were preserved”
Yagci is a member of another Turkish animal rights association, Hakim (HAKIM Animal Rights Monitoring Committee), of the Turkish TvD Vegan Association and a documentary filmmaker.
We are fortunate in Turkey to still have several thousand wild bears living in the wild [in 2019, there were 52 bears in France]but unfortunately their habitat is quickly nibbled by human activities such as the construction of infrastructure such as dams or roads.
When I was shooting a documentary in Kars (eastern Turkey), I saw bears regularly crossing a railway track to fetch food from a
landfill. Often these bears were hit by trains and environmental activists told me that they were trying to rescue them, to no avail.
Sometimes hunters say they kill bears because there is a conflict between humans and animals, but we believe that these so-called “conflicts” could be avoided if humans preserved their natural habitat.
We regularly carry out awareness campaigns against hunting and they are successful, the Turks are sensitive to the cause of animals and reject any form of abuse, including
hunting. But unfortunately the laws do not follow this trend and, until recently, a law had to be proposed to vote to expand the number of species hunted and facilitate hunting tourism. The process was eventually postponed.