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LA STAMPA

In Northern Italy, Elementary School Hunting Lessons Spark Controversy

A handful of elementary schools in northern Italy have taken to teaching children about bird hunting. Environmentalists are crying foul and asking the national government to ban school courses that promote killing wildlife.

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Worldcrunch NEWS BITES

BRESCIA -- In the spirit of exposing young students to all walks of life – and death -- local hunters are offering lessons in some elementary schools in northern Italy. In villages around the city of Brescia, east of Milan, hunting is a traditional activity that many consider worthy of as much preservation as the local dialect or traditional local cheeses.

Two years ago, at the school in the village of Nave, the Italian migratory birds hunters association ANUU began organizing lessons and walks for the children of the elementary school. But when the lessons spread recently to other villages, there was an outcry from environmentalist activists.

Two senators, Donatella Porretti and Marco Perduca, have now raised the issue in front of the education and environment ministers. The national debate now is open.

In the meantime in Nave, with a population of 11,000, the municipal council has approved a document committing to keeping the hunters in the classrooms. The school is a "place for dialogue and tolerance, not political or ideological fights," the document reads.

"It is just environmental education," says Tiziano Bertoli, Nave's center-left mayor, and sometimes hunter. "Let's also remember that hunters clean torrents, rivers, and mountain paths."

Read the original story in Italian by Beatrice Raspa

Photo - Enrico Mailoi

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Anna Akage, Bertrand Hauger and Emma Albright

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