Switzerland plans to recommend the Bern Convention be modified to allow for wolves to be hunted.
The cabinet made the decision on Wednesday. It follows parliament’s adoption in 2010 of a motion for the section of the treaty addressing the wolf’s protection to be watered down, due to the large number of sheep killed by wolves in the country over the past few years.
The convention is a binding international legal instrument on wildlife and nature conservation. The Swiss proposal foresees allowing states to opt out of some of its provisions after signing up, “if the parameters have changed dramatically since the accord was signed”.
The proposal will be submitted to the Bern Convention by the environment ministry. Three-quarters of the members of the convention’s standing committee as well as the ministerial committee would have to approve the proposal for it to enter into force. Every parliament then would have to vote on it.
If Switzerland’s proposal fails, it would have to withdraw from the treaty and rejoin with reservations about the wolf.
When Switzerland ratified the treaty in 1980, there were no wolves in the country. Wolf supporters say the farmers should have better protection for their animals.
Switzerland previously failed in an attempt to persuade the Bern Convention to downgrade the wolf’s status from “strictly protected” to “protected” to allow it to be culled.