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Pro-wolf politician attacked in his home

Pro-wolf politician attacked in his home

Published: 03 Nov 2011 11:33 GMT+01:00
Updated: 03 Nov 2011 11:33 GMT+01:00

A local politician in northern Sweden, openly opposed to excessive wolf hunting, was hospitalized on Tuesday night after being knocked out by a rock thrown through his bedroom window.

“I only had time to think that there had been an explosion,” Green Party member Arne Johansson from Ånge, in north western Sweden, told the Aftonbladet newspaper from the hospital bed.

“Then I woke up and found out it was a rock about ten centimetres wide.”

The blow had knocked Johansson unconscious. About two hours later he came to, and was able to call for help.

Johansson feels deep respect for the wild northern predator, and he has openly expressed his feelings on the eradication of wolves.

But after repeated threats and attacks, this might be the last straw, he told Afonbladet.

The same day as the attack, Johansson had also discovered the bolts to his car wheels were unscrewed, and that someone had carved a cross in the paint of the vehicle.

He has also previously received death threats in the mail.

It hasn't been confirmed that it is his stance on wolf hunting that is the root of all his problems, but Johansson told the paper he had been informed by police that it is a clear possibility.

Earlier this year, Johansson had debated the wolf issue with a group of hunters, which made him realize just what he was up against.

“It was then I understood how fanatical they are. Not only did they want to wipe out the Swedish pack, but also the Russian,” he told Aftonbladet.

“Not a single wolf should exist on the planet. That’s crossing the line. I spoke my mind.”

Ann Dahlerus with the Predatory Animal Association (Svenska Rovdjursföreningen), which is against licenced killing of wolves, told Aftonbladet that it is quite common for their members to receive threats.

“Especially in areas with a lot of wolves it might be difficult socially to publicly be positive about wolves,” she said.

“In county Dalarna we tried getting members to speak up for the wolves in an interview with Sveriges Television but none of the 15 members we called felt that they dared.”

Marcus Kalén, 41, lives in a village not far from where Johansson was attacked. He’s an avid hunter, and among those who feel wolves need to be restricted to zoos.

“It’s hard for people from the cities to understand. Hunting and fishing are the only hobbies we have out here. If the wolves stay these become impossible. We don’t even dare release our dogs,” he told the Aftonbladet newspaper.

Kalén doesn't think that the wolf debate was behind the assault of Johansson, explaining to the paper that there’s no pressing wolf issue in the area right now.

But there are indications that violence and threats against politicians in Sweden have increased, and the National council for crime prevention (Brottsförebyggande rådet, BRÅ) initiated a study to investigate just how comprehensive these crimes are, on the behest of the government.

According to the head of the unit for statistical surveys at BRÅ, Erik Grevholm, this is a common strategy used by the state when a problem is detected; to gather a comprehensive knowledge base about the problem.

“And it has become a problem in Sweden, one can easily establish that by just reading the newspapers," Grevholm told The Local.

The Local/jl (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

12:59 November 3, 2011 by Gabin
Wolf Army will act soon.
13:16 November 3, 2011 by StockholmSam
Wow, these idiots want to wipe an entire species off the face of the planet simply because that animal interferes with their hobbies? These people are nutcases.
13:32 November 3, 2011 by eppie
'''''"It's hard for people from the cities to understand. Hunting and fishing are the only hobbies we have out here. If the wolves stay these become impossible.''''

Try reading a book you moron! Maybe you learn something and don't make stupid comments to journalists.
15:23 November 3, 2011 by Hauhr
I don't care about the debate on wolf-hunting but just HAD to read this article because, when I saw the headline and picture from the front-page, I immediately drew the wrong conclusion and thought that the politician in question was a gingerbread man. The wolf in the picture is licking his chops which I falsely assumed to be a sign of satisfaction after having attacked and devoured the gingerbread politician.
15:54 November 3, 2011 by philster61
Rednecks revenge
16:32 November 3, 2011 by GLO
Wow, who could assault someone for wanting to protect an animal, sick...
17:58 November 3, 2011 by karex
@GLO, funny enough, you answered your own question: sick people.

This tells so much about how undeserving humans are to even being on this planet. For the most part that is, not everyone of course.

Which reminds me of another article published here recently about human ancestry.

I'm beginning to suspect that had Neanderthals had overwhelmed the gene pool instead of Homo Sapiens the world wouldn't be such the sick place it is today. After all, Neanderthals had the biggest brains. We have to admit, our species acts a lot more often like morons than civilized animals... I bet it has never crossed a wolfe's mind that humans should be wiped out because it interferes with their "hobby" of hunting...
20:21 November 3, 2011 by Hogwash
Hunting and fishing are their only hobbies? Just like the wolves, these yokels are obviously suffering from the effects of their other hobby - inbreeding.

Anyway, how does the existence of wolves make fishing impossible - do their howls scare the fish?
21:44 November 3, 2011 by skogsbo
anyone who live on the outside of towns / cities or rurally has to be concerned if wolves become widespread again. Swedish ancestors didn't hunt wovles because it fun, they had too much work to do to feed themselves for those antics. They were hunted because they kills animals, that farm stock and pets, also many children wouldn't be able to walk home from school in some regions if they became widespread again.

Not to mention the hazards to the city dwellers enjoy their sport on their holidays. It would also kill the tourism industry in many areas, after the first human is killed.

Yes, it would take time for numbers to grow to this level, but there is valid reason why swedish forefather hunted them. They certainly weren't killed for food. There is quite a correlation between elk, wolve, deer and wild boar numbers, which shows how balance has swing over the decades, harsh winters will also force the wolves to no traditional prey. The lone wolf in Ljungby down south has killed a few dozen sheep so far, far more than it needs to actually survive.

I understand many of the commentators don't live in Sweden or have never been, most probably live a few km from open countryside, so I accept your ignorance on the topic.
22:44 November 3, 2011 by Smiling Canuk
skogsbo, you're talking nonsense. When was the last recorded proven attack by a wolf on a human in Sweden. I'll bet you there aren't any.

There are only 300 or so wolves in Sweden. Whooppeeedooo. We have about 100,000+ estimated in Canada. So if you want to see a wolf come over for a visit. Are you seriously going to tell me that Sweden can't accomodate 300 wolves.

I live in a rural area where there are plenty of wolves and coyotes. We probably have more in our immediate area than you have in all of Sweden. In fact I saw a wolf in the wild a few months ago. The biggest concern is that they take calfs from the farmers but they will not attack people.
07:31 November 4, 2011 by skogsbo
canuk, sweden can accommodate that number, but they need to be controlled where they are, they obviously roam around and get into urban/farming areas, travelling over 1000km from their normal habit down to places like Ljunby.

I never said there were attacks on people here, but there are valid reasons why the numbers were hunted right down a 1 or 2 centuries ago, that's probably about the same time as the first settlers hunted many things to near extinction in North America. Wolves take lambs/sheep mainly here, the same in other places, such as in the South West Of France where a re-introduction scheme has begun on the Italian border. It's not working too well there either for the farmers.

Canada has a lot more uninhabitated space for them, in Sweden farm stock is just too easy and too tempting for them. Swedish are not exactly in the remotest parts, plus they obviously aren't fenced in, they travel (as you know).

If the do gooders who want them don't mind paying 20 - 30kr a kilo more for their meat, add a bit on to milk etc.. that's fine, then the farmer will at least have some compensation for it.

Considering we have elk, wild boar, deer, fox, badger all coming well within 100m of the house, even during daylight sometimes when we are active, I don't really see any requirement to add wolves to that list right now.
09:24 November 4, 2011 by Hogwash
Skogsbo. you suggested that growth in wolf numbers would lead to attacks on people. I believe that there have been so few wolf attacks on people (around the world) that barely any records exist and because there have been so few, scientists (the experts) have trouble verifying exactly how many there have been over the last few hundred years.

I would have some more sympathy with the anti-wolf lobby, if they had a balanced approach. Why don't they give the same attention to bears? There have been many more attacks by bears on humans than by wolves and there are more of them in Sweden but they barely get a mention in these debates.

In terms of effects on tourism - you're totally wrong. Just look at the numbers of visitors to Sweden and other European countries who visit to see the wildlife including wolves. Spain has ten times as many wolves as Sweden but I don't see many people refusing to go there.

In terms of compensation, farmers already get it! Saying that people will have to pay considerably more for their food if wolf numbers go up is just misleading nonsense.

Anyway, if you are such a knowledgable and experienced countryside dweller, why are you scared of deer, foxes and badgers?
09:59 November 4, 2011 by Da Goat
well said Skogsbo!

every single day probably multiple times a day a domesticate-able wolf (dog canis familis) bites and sometimes kills a human somewhere around the world!

so

a non domesticate-able wolf (they can not be trained to do anything) is not good news to have too close to your doorstep!

out in the wilds yes keep them out there and take them down if they get too close, I am sure i read of a wolf molesting school children at a bus stop not so long ago.

wolves are not dogs they are wild animals and should only be kept there !

I think as long as the wolves stay out in the wilderness they should be left in peace and when they come to town they should be quickly dealt with!
19:35 November 4, 2011 by james_g
Just for the record, I think Skogsbo (and Marcus Kalén) are talking a load of bullocks too! (second try - TL rejected the 'o' between b and l...)
20:39 November 4, 2011 by skogsbo
What I am trying to say is that there are valid reasons why wolf numbers have been hunted down to these low numbers over the past few hundred years. My point about other wild animals is, that when you live proper rurally (ie no other house within a few km), then these animals have little fear of man or our habitat and freely roam.

However, if you knew anything yourself about wild animals you would know that badgers are the meanest creatures in the woods (after the mouse and the gruffalo), I would never mess with a badger and the old adage of if you run one over in your car, you don't get out in case they bite your foot and don't let go!

The compensation is no compensation for loss of livelihood and income, plus have you ever come across a farm animal that's be mauled by a fox or stray dog? not pretty I can assure you, especially if they are still alive. Why shouldn't the public pay more to compensate for lost stock, if the towns folk want to keep the wilds wild, then perhaps they can pay their way a bit more, most farmers make a very frugal living and would be grateful.

Bears, you must have missed the uproar this year about shooting bears, putting bait down to control the hunt etc.. Bears keep to themselves much more than wolves and during the lean months (winter), bears have the sense to sleep through it and are less likely to scavenge. Plus, bears won't suddenly have a population boom like wolves would if left to their own devices. Having climbed in places with bears abroad, where they also have no fear of man, having to secure you food etc.. it is quite curious how sweden would cope if the bear population went social ! berry pickers would get danger money.

Polar Bears, most folk get hurt because they go to the bears, apart from a few towns in North America, very few places have any contact with polar bears and they are also (if not likely to be) endangered, so there is another reason not to shoot them.
20:52 November 4, 2011 by james_g
I think most of the reason why (some) farmers make a frugal living can be put down to middlemen and big supermarket groups with effective monopoly buying power!
21:32 November 4, 2011 by skogsbo
james your right, it's the supermarket but if folk shopped more locally and bought local produce, then it would keep the money in Sweden and not a beef farmer in a Brazilian rain forest in a job.
20:36 November 7, 2011 by budpg
We have hunters like this in the states. These people are loons. The hunting groups pay off the politicians in both parties so it is hard to deal with the fanatical hatred these animals deal with. Hunters whine about game populations being decimated, then the facts show the truth. These people talk about being conservationists which is a joke. They enjoy killing stuff- period. We are fighting back, and sentiment about predators is changing......I had to laugh when I read the hunter saying wolves should be in zoos...that hunting is their only hobby......they could learn an instument, they could take a course, they could collect things on ebay, we all know these hunters aren't the brightest bunch.....They can't even let their dogs loose- where I come from using dogs to hunt with is "slob hunting", ever heard of fair chase? I didn't think so
05:13 January 3, 2012 by reality22
budpg, This guy probably staged the whole thing to get that "donate now" button rolling on the Green Party web site! The hate you just spewed here is typical of the stuff we see on billy haurd post on Ralphs anti-hunting hate site...... you guys are worse than the KKK!
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