Rome, 14 March 2023 – The hunting world, which has long been engaged in a process of strengthening its role in a more ethical and sustainable key, is able to generate a value of approximately 8,5 billion euros per year for the community in economic and environmental terms. This is what emerges from the study “The Value of Hunting in Italy”, edited by Nomisma and presented today as part of a discussion organized by Italian Federation of Hunting at Senate of the Republic, in the prestigious location of Palazzo della Minerva. The research produced by Nomisma it was developed starting from the need to identify the possible development trajectories of the sector with a view to greater sustainability, but also to quantify the economic, social and environmental effects generated by hunting in Italy. The investigation involved directly stakeholders and Community to also grasp some knowledge gaps concerning the sector.
The perception of Italian consumers
The study proposes an in-depth analysis of consumption in order to compose a reference framework that is as complete and exhaustive as possible, capable of also dimensioning the economic repercussions.
Starting from consumption, for example, the study reveals that among the 45 million adults who eat meat 62% also consume game. In the majority of cases it is a consumption that occurs mainly outside the home (in 39% of cases at the restaurant). These exciting prospects for the game food chain are reinforced by the fact that as many as 23 million of Italian consumers (51%) declare themselves ready to buy it for domestic consumption if it were easier to find.
Furthermore, the interviewees are particularly careful and sensitive in implementing sustainable behaviors in their food choices. Compared to purchased meat, 72% believe it is very important that it presents fewer health risks and 70% that it comes from a traceable supply chain. Furthermore, respect for animal welfare and the environment is considered an essential condition by 64% of the sample, just as 61% of the interviewees are attentive to the fact that the meat does not come from intensive farms. 47% consider it important that the meat purchased is natural and comes from wild and not farmed animals.
With respect to the level of knowledge of the hunting activity, however, it should be emphasized that there is a basic strong disinformation, so much so that 2 out of 3 Italians declare themselves insufficiently informed on the subject and only 1 interviewee out of 10 claims to be fully aware of the rules and provisions that govern their work. With respect to the subjects from whom Italians would like to receive information, 60% of the interviewees identify public bodies as authoritative and adequate to provide such information.
The environmental and social enhancement of hunting
Starting from a consultation of the main stakeholders, the Nomisma study was able to gather the different points of view of a large parterre, essential for consolidating the economic evaluation phase, carried out through analysis, collection and processing of data, aimed at also determining the effects generated and potentially generated by hunting on the environment, the agricultural and social-health world, the community and the national economy .
The hunting activity, thanks to the preservation of ecosystem resources, overall it is able to produce a monetary value for the company estimated at almost 8,5 billion euros. More specifically, hunting is capable of generating 708 million euro of natural value thanks to the activities carried out for the maintenance of wetlands and habitats and, in particular, towards the protection of natural areas protected areas made possible thanks to funding from the hunting world. To these add up 20 million euros of agricultural value deriving from the expenses incurred by the Territorial Hunting Areas to compensate farmers for the damage caused by some wild species and/or to adopt related prevention measures. I am instead 75 million of euros the savings deriving from the reduction of the ecological and water footprint produced by the meat supply chain thanks to the replacement of intensively farmed meat with hunted game. The socio-sanitary value of the sector, which corresponds in monetary terms to the damage avoided for minor hospitalizations and deaths linked to the effects of antibiotics in farmed meat or for accidents with invasive species, is instead estimated at 124 million euro.
Finally, considering the economic value related to the arms sector and the demand for products for hunting, a value equal to 7,5 billion euros.
“For the first time the hunting system - declares Marco Marcatili, Development Manager of Nomisma - decides to open up to society, listen to the community and start an open and transparent dialogue with the institutional, agricultural and environmental world. The work of Nomisma – explains Marcatili – is, on the one hand, reassuring because it confirms the non-hostility to hunting, indeed an unprecedented openness of the community to include more sustainable game in their diet; on the other hand, however, it leads the Italian Hunting Federation to an increased responsibility in terms of greater information and availability for ethical and sustainable hunting. There are not many activities in Italy that make an annual contribution of 1 billion in environmental terms – concludes Marcatili –, the commitment in this direction will make it possible to target opportunities deriving from the new climate scenarios, such as the protection of fragile territories and the strengthening of national supply chains in terms of food and employment”.
Valuable elements and areas for improvement of the hunting activity
Reading the results and the interviews conducted by Nomisma highlight some valuable contributions, but also areas of improvement worthy of attention.
"We have decided to entrust Nomisma with an initial environmental assessment of the hunting activity in Italy in order to measure the real value generated for the community and the environment and investigate the perception of Italian families about our work. We are certain that promoting a better understanding of the dynamics that regulate the relationship between hunting and society can contribute to a just recognition of our role and our activity, in the light of the positive effects deriving from ethical and sustainable hunting" - said Massimo Buconi, National President of the Italian Hunting Federation. "The results show an important system already in place – continued Buconi – testifying to our potential role as actors in the ecological transition process, but highlight some areas for improvement, on which to structure a process of discussion with users, stakeholders and institutions. We intend to continue in this direction of dialogue, in a constant and incisive way".
It should be noted that hunters are recognized as "guardians of the territory" (or more technically "citizen as sensor"), as volunteers involved in the programs of monitoring of natural resources to improve its management and contribute to research. Just as the contribution that the hunting world is able to make to the community through wildlife management programs, environmental protection and health surveillance exercised by volunteer hunters. At the same time, the need to support a “ethical hunting”, which not only respects the regulations but, above all, favors the containment and control of illegal activities, promoting and consolidating an active role of the hunter in the protection of the environment and habitat. Another area for improvement is represented by the awareness of the hunting system as a whole on the actions of containment of environmental impacts and on a greater development of a hunting model that is in balance with biodiversity. Finally, at an organizational and managerial level, the Italian hunting sector can aim at an adaptive dimension that allows modular sampling of game on the basis of a principle of sustainability, enhancing the monitoring and planning of hunting and control plans. This would help consolidate the compatibility between hunting and the conservation of fauna and the environment.
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