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To the dismay of animal rights organisations, on 26th April 2022, the Uruguayan government has produced a new decree that allows giving more permits for hunters to kill exotic animals and allows hunting at night for certain species — which was prohibited before. This amendment of the current law of hunting regulations (Law 9,481 of 1935, on ecology and protection of indigenous fauna, and decreet 164 of 1996) will affect everywhere in the country except Montevideo, the capital.

The project — approved by the Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries and Tourism, as well as by the Ministry of Environment — was drafted by the National Association of Hunters in conjunction with the Asociación Profauna Cinegética del Uruguay claiming that the regulations made hunting unfair or difficult. Naturally, animal protection and environmentalist organisations rejected the new decree as “a step back” in the protection of Uruguayan fauna.

Hunting permits will now be issued regardless of the type of weapon used, and it will no longer be mandatory to have a justification from the owner or occupant of the property where hunting will take place. The radius of distance from populated centres and rural schools is reduced to one kilometre in the case of hunting with a shotgun. In essence, it will weaken legal protection of wildlife making it very easy for people to kill wild animals. 

Mauricio Álvarez, the president of the organization Conservation of Native Species of Uruguay (Coendu), said to La Diaria that “It was a surprise to read in the foundation of the decree talk of hunting as a tourist activity to be promoted, hence surely the signing of the Ministry of Tourism to a hunting decree. It is very sad that Uruguay is going against the rest of the world, where ecological and environmentally friendly tourism advances and hunting tourism recedes. Uruguay is doing the opposite. If it is for revenue, more is billed with nature-friendly tourism than with killing people.”