Keeping the wolves from the door: farmer guilty

A farmer who shot a wolf that he says was threatening his animals has been found guilty of a "serious hunting crime" and sentenced to 120 hours of community service by Sweden's Supreme Court.

Henrik Manfredsson, who was found not guilty by the district court and the appeal court, now plans to take the case to the European Court.

While the Supreme Court acknowledged that it can be hard for the public to understand that a farmer does not have the right to kill in order to protect his animals. But Manfredsson was convicted because the animal in question is “threatened, rare or otherwise in danger of extinction”.

“Everything is strange. When I found out about it I was shocked. Now it feels mostly bitter,” said Manfredsson to DN.

Manfredsson was criticized for not firing a warning shot into the air instead. According to the Supreme Court, killing the wolf to avoid future attacks is not a lasting defence.

“In my opinion, this verdict is not based under legal circumstances. It has been the result of political pressure,” commented Manfredsson’s lawyer.

But for other animals there is only bad news. New EU regulations will permit animals to be transported under poor conditions from Sweden to other European countries. According to Sunday’s DN, the Swedish government did not vote against these new regulations.

Animal that have open wounds or other minor injuries will be allowed to be transported for longer periods of time than previously. But this information was apparently missing from the documents presented to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Consumer Affairs before the decision was made. Instead it stated that animals ‘cannot be injured or weakened in any way’.

“I think Sweden would have voted against these regulations if the parliament had received correct information,’ stated Carl Schlyter, EU parliamentary spokesman.

Sources: Dagens Nyheter, Svenska Dagbladet