Rootsi Põllumajandusülikooli ülevaade vibujahi kohta (2021)

Rootsi Jahimeeste Selts tegi ettepaneku vibujahi legaliseerimiseks 2018. Loomakaitsjate palvel koostati vibujahti käsitlev teoreetiline ülevaade, mis valmis aastal 2021. Kuna see ei sisaldanud olulisi vibujahivastaseid argumente, tegi Rootsi Jahimeeste Selts samale ülevaatele toetudes taas ettepaneku vibujahi seadustamiseks (loe SIIT). Alljärgnevalt saad tutvuda antud ülevaate lühikokkuvõttega, täispikk ülevaade (rootsi keeles) asub SIIN.

Opinion of the Scientific Council for Animal Welfare on bow hunting

The Scientific Council for Animal Welfare at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences shall support the regulatory work in the field of animal welfare and formulate independent, evidence-based opinions on behalf of, among others, various authorities. The following opinion was issued following requests from the Swedish Association for the Protection of Animals, Djurens Rätt, Animal Welfare Sweden, the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, and the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency to review scientific literature on bow (archery) hunting. The opinion focuses on scientific evidence regarding animal welfare, but it was also deemed necessary to weigh animal interests against, for example, human interests and various environmental aspects.

A number of countries allow bow hunting, while several others have banned it, and others still have no legal precedent. In cases where bow hunting is allowed, this may only apply to certain species of mammals and birds. In some cases, aquatic mammals are also included. Of Sweden’s Nordic neighbouring countries, Norway and Iceland have a total ban on bow hunting, while Denmark and Finland allow such hunting to varying degrees. No Nordic country allows bow hunting for moose. Various arguments for and against bow hunting have been used in different countries, neither side always with scientific support, and it is not possible to determine which arguments have been of decisive importance in allowing or prohibiting bow hunting at national level.

Bow hunting has been banned in Sweden since 1938. The question of a possible legalization in Sweden has been raised and the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency proposed new regulations in 2018 on this. The weapon that has been proposed for hunting in Sweden is the compound bow, which provides the most powerful and safest shots, compared to the longbow and the recurve bow, although the development of arches, arrows and sights continues.

In any form of hunting with a rifle, shotgun or bow and arrow, the projectile’s energy of movement must be converted into a bodily injury, which leads to unconsciousness and death of the hit animal as quickly as possible. An arrow from a compound bow has an impact velocity of about 70 80 m/s, which can be compared to about 400 m/s for shotgun pellets and 700-1200 m/s for a rifle bullet. The arrow’s impact energy is about 75 J, while the energy from a shotgun (close up) is about 3200 J and of a rifle bullet 1600-16,500 J. An arrow that travels freely has an estimated maximum range of half a kilometre while a bullet can travel for several kilometres.

The penetration depth of an arrow varies depending on its velocity, the shape of the arrowhead and the type of tissue penetrated. In an experimental study, the depth was determined to be 17-60 cm in soft tissue. The greater the impact velocity, the narrower the arrow tip and the softer the tissue, the further the arrow penetrates, and an arrow from a modern compound bow has the capacity to pass through the body of a large deer. If the shot passes straight through the animal, the projectile retains some energy as it leaves the body and the ability to cause bodily injury is therefore lower. Unlike a bullet, an arrow does not cause any temporary cavity with subsequent secondary tissue damage in the animal body, but only a narrow permanent cavity or canal. This most likely means that a correct hit is even more important.

Bow hunting is usually performed as still hunting, game calling or stalking, and the unter is usually camouflaged. The bow should only be used at short distances,
probably less than about 30-35 m, and preferably on stationary animals. However, the recommendations on firing distances differ between countries. Hunting with a bow and arrow is more time-consuming than hunting with a rifle, i.e. fewer animals can be felled over a given period of time, but it is unclear whether bow hunting requires greater proficiency, skill and accuracy.

It is difficult to draw general conclusions about animals’ subjective experiences of being hunted and shot, because they depend largely on individual factors. Hunting strategies where the animal does not detect a solitary hunter until or shortly before the shooting moment, termed immersion hunting, are likely to be less stressful than hunting where the animal is driven or kept still for an extended period of time, or where the animal experiences the presence of dogs or a large number of people, termed irruption hunting.

From an animal welfare perspective, the time from the moment of shooting to
unconsciousness is arguably more important than the time to death. Both the time of loss of consciousness and death depend on which organs and tissues are damaged and in particular how quickly blood is lost so that oxygen deficiency occurs in the brain. Extensive damage to large arteries leads to a rapid bleeding and a moving animal probably bleeds faster than a standing one.

There is insufficient knowledge to determine if there is a significant difference in the time and degree of stress from hit to unconsciousness between bow and rifle or shotgun. The evidence is limited or non-existent for most species of game smaller than roe deer, including aquatic mammals and birds, under natural conditions. Immobility after a well-placed shot is often used as a sign of death, but does not say much about either the degree of consciousness or heart activity.
The heart-lung region of the chest is the desired target area. The course of injury after an arrow shot in the head or neck of larger game is not known, but probably depends on where and from what angle the arrow hits, and whether it is able to penetrate the skull. Shots in other parts of the body, such as the abdomen or extremities, do not normally cause severe bleeding, but result in injuries that can cause suffering to the animal and be life-threatening in the longer term.

In situations where the animal is wounded and a second shot is needed to fell the
animal, the use of the bow and arrow can be hampered if the animal moves quickly way from the shooting site, which may result in increased suffering of the animal. However, the basis for assessing the risk of non-fatal injuries with different weapons and in different kinds of animals is insufficient. Different game species have different anatomical, physiological and mental characteristics, which manifest themselves in varying sensory capabilities and behavioural repertoires, and they live in different ecological contexts. Therefore, the conditions for hunting vary greatly between species. Research indicates that large animals move longer than small animals after being shot. However, research on hunting for animals smaller than roe deer is very limited.

It is difficult to generalise a subjective experience such as suffering. Furthermore,
several interpretations of the concept of unnecessary suffering are possible, based on e.g. the intensity and duration of the suffering, the intentions behind the action that causes the suffering and the fulfillment of the interests of people and animals. It is not possible using only scientific methods to determine what can be regarded as unnecessary suffering in a hunting context. Pain can be caused by different stimuli and most tissues have pain receptors. Increased pressure in the injured area due to bleeding, edema and inflammation can cause pain.

So far, no complete risk assessment of animal welfare during hunting has been
published. Compared to hunting with rifle or shotgun, bow hunting presents animalwelfare risks with regard to, above all, the time from shot to unconsciousness, and wounding. Further, the lack of scientific evidence, not least with regard to small game, indirectly also poses an animal welfare risk. At the same time, bow hunting may possibly be associated with better conditions for healing after injury, if the wounded animal is not found. An overall risk assessment of animal welfare during bow hunting needs to take into account all possible risks and benefits and weigh them against the corresponding risks and benefits during hunting with rifle or shotgun.

Compared to hunting with a rifle or shotgun, the risk of hearing loss and dog bite in the hunter may be reduced in bow hunting. The short shooting distance and minimal risk of ricochets may also reduce the risk of fatal accidents when hunting with bow and arrow. Bow hunting is quiet and is therefore not considered to be disturbing to the surroundings, but the public may perceive the hunting’s stealthy nature as frightening. The low noise level might also increase the risk of poaching. It is unclear whether bow hunting would increase the opportunities for efficient game management under Swedish conditions.

The extent to which the introduction of bow hunting could affect the total amount of lead that ends up in the environment is unclear, since it depends on the degree to which bows and arrows would replace rifles and shotguns with lead ammunition in the event of such hunting, and the extent to which lead will at all be allowed in ammunition in the future.

When assessing the consequences of a possible legalization of bow hunting, different ethical perspectives and normative ethical theories need to be considered. Ethical considerations can help elucidate the risks that bow hunting would pose for game, people, property and nature and compare them with the method’s potential advantages over hunting with rifle and shotgun. The public may oppose a decision to allow bow hunting that is chiefly supported by esoteric arguments such as added recreational value for hunters. For the hunting method to be accepted, it is important that it can be justified in other ways as well, which appeal to multiple value bases in society, and that the suffering of the hunted animals is minimised. It is unclear whether the introduction of bow hunting would affect the acceptance of hunting in general.

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