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SE: Extended protective hunting of wolves

Roughly translated by TWIN Observer

Stockholm / TT

There could be protective hunting of wolves this winter, although the wolves have not destroyed domestic animals or caused some other injuries, according to Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal.

It is enough that “there is a strong likelihood that there will be serious damage.”

Protective hunting, in the expanded form being proposed, is intended to replace licensed hunting since the government was forced to eliminate it earlier this year after the EU threatened to take Sweden to court.

The EPA was commissioned to prepare the proposal for increased protective since the government backed the European Commission earlier this year. The then Environment Minister Andreas Carlgren (C) then promised the protective hunt would be of such magnitude that it could replace licensed hunting.

The EPA notes, however, that the protective hunt must be justified, if Sweden is to not violate the EU Species and Habitats directive. It must therefore be a clear need for controlled hunting.

Normally, one usually gives the go-ahead once the wolves have killed livestock or caused other problems. What is new is now for the authorities to act without any response and grant shooting even though no application for a hunt is received.

The obvious question is what the reactions to the proposal becomes. It will now go out for consultation and both hunting as environmental organizations are likely to have objections, though from different starting points. It also remains to be seen whether the EU accepts the proposal.

“I will carefully study and analyze the Environmental Protection Agency report, which will now be referred to relevant agencies and organizations. Thereafter, a consultative meeting to be held where the courts have the opportunity to present their views on the proposals. The government will then consider the matter further processing”, says Environment Minister Lena Ek, in a statement.

Environment Minister Ek would not comment specifically on the proposal from the Environmental Protection Agency. She says that the most important thing still is to prevent the wolf issue is taken over by the EU.

“The immediate threat is that everything ends up in the EU court. When we lose the balance of the policy we are trying to bring together and we also risk losing all local control. My job now is to negotiate this with the European Commission. There will be no easy job,” Ek said.

She is aware that there are objections from both hunters and environmental groups. The hunters believe that the proposal does not in practice mean an expanded protective hunt, while environmental groups argue that it tampered with the rules to allow the hunting of wolves that have not done any harm.

“I understand that there is an ongoing discussion. But just as before the wolf policy based on a balance between different interests,” she says.

What the outcome of the new proposal would be if it becomes reality, that is, the effect of protective hunt would be, she would not speculate on.

“It is impossible to say today.”