The annual subsidy awarded by the town hall of Lyon to the Hirondelle wild animal refuge will drop by 3,000 euros. Yet another disappointment for this unique care structure, authorized to intervene in the Rhône, Loire, Drôme and Ardèche. The political choice is all the more difficult to understand as elected animalists making up the majority of the environmentalist mayor Grégory Doucet.
On the occasion of the city council of this Thursday, November 18, the subsidies granted to three animal protection associations will be put to the vote. The amounts proposed by the majority range from 2,000 euros for La Société Protectrice des Animaux de Lyon, 5,621 euros for the association The cats of Loyasse, at 7,000 euros for the care center for wild birds, the Hirondelle refuge. Last year, the City had awarded him a third more, or 10,000 euros.
The Hirondelle refuge is an establishment which has been collecting injured birds and wild mammals since 1998. It welcomes animals in a small chalet in Dardilly, as well as on their main site, more imposing, in Saint-Forgeux. Even if the structure has been established for a long time in the Lyon landscape, this does not make it more stable, particularly financially. The financial fragility of the association was even so important that the center closed for almost a year, in 2019.
And this even though, according to the director of the Hirondelle refuge, Pascal Tavernier, the need for care continues to increase. In the summer of 2021, he was already saying to Rue89Lyon:
“We’re not trying to be whistleblowers, but in fact we are. Health and global warming issues mean that there is an emergency with many species of wildlife. “
It was on the occasion of its summer series “Animals and the city in Lyon”, that the editorial staff went to the Hirondelle refuge, to tackle the question of wild birds which do not adapt well to the sea. life in the city: the black swifts which can no longer stand the hot weather in summer but also the swallows and barn owls which regularly see their living and breeding grounds destroyed.
Over 2,750 birds bred in 2018
A finding that seems shared by the City of Lyon in its deliberation, put to the vote this Thursday:
“The City of Lyon, in its missions to protect public health and safety, is occasionally confronted with the presence of avifauna [oiseaux] wild injured or contaminated. In this context, it is important to have a suitable reception structure to provide them with care adapted to their pathologies. “
Thus is even described the action of the center:
“2018 was a very significant year with more than 2,750 birds collected. This year, the expansion of the structure’s skills in matters of mammals has led to the care of 400 small wild animals. “
The City therefore proposes to vote a subsidy of up to 7,000 euros, the highest of the three animal protection associations. However, this allocated sum is far from sufficient in the eyes of the staff of the Hirondelle. Pascal Tavernier deplores with Rue89Lyon:
“Last year, we had 10,000 euros, which was not already huge. Our subsidy has been reduced as we have doubled the number of animals taken care of. “
He wonders about the objectives of the City of Lyon and its mayor Grégory Doucet in terms of the protection of wildlife:
“They are still environmentalists. They have sold themselves as environmental concerns, but since their election they have not responded to our calls. It’s like they don’t take responsibility for what they think about us. “
# I am a pigeon
Pascal Tavernier refers here to a statement by Nicolas Husson, deputy mayor delegated to “biodiversity, nature in the city, animal protection”, made at Rue89Lyon, last summer. The elected had given the association a scratch, evoking its care for injured pigeons, animals whose growth the City has difficulty in limiting. He said:
“I do not see myself generously subsidizing a structure which treats pigeons. These are animals that the City is struggling to control. The Refuge de l’Hirondelle has chosen to preserve the pigeon grannies who are their finances to the detriment of the community which makes strategic choices. “
A bias presented in a rather original way, which had a lot of indignation among pro-animals. The Hirondelle refuge association had stepped up to the plate, breaking through post on Facebook assassin, inviting their donors and friends to post a profile picture of a pigeon taking flight, along with the hashtag # Jesuisuneméméàpigeon.
The day after this operation deployed on social networks, the Hirondelle published a second message:
” [La Ville a dit] regret the extent of our differences and we said we would like to quickly organize a meeting at l’Hirondelle with the various protagonists concerned. They were part of their desire to develop good relations with our association in order to move forward in the interest of all. “
Except that, since, no meeting could take place, according to the members of the Hirondelle. The only choice that has changed for the moment is the amount of the public subsidy, which has therefore fallen by 3,000 euros. It must be voted on in city council this Thursday. Pascal Tavernier is sorry:
“I would like to understand the positions of elected environmentalists. And especially that they are finally assumed. “