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EU acts to stop Swedish wolf hunt

TT/AFP/The Local · 27 Jan 2011, 13:47

Published: 27 Jan 2011 12:44 GMT+01:00
Updated: 27 Jan 2011 13:47 GMT+01:00

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At the same time, Swedish environment minister Andreas Carlgren unveiled plans for strengthening the Swedish wolf pack by introducing new wolves.

“We’re now taking a collective step in order to get viable wolves,” Carlgren told reporters in Stockholm.

According to Carlgren, decisions to add new wolves will be taken locally. He added that Sweden also plans to continue with a licenced wolf hunt.

“This isn’t coming as an answer to the Commission’s questions,” he said.

Sweden plans to introduce new wolf pups to the country’s existing wolf population starting in April.

“One or a few adults wolves will be moved later this year or next year, but that will only happen after they’ve been under close observation and have undergone a thorough examination by veterinarians,” said Carlgren.

Thursday’s decision by the European Commission to formally report Sweden wasn’t unexpected, as EU environment commissioner Janez Potocnik had issued several previous warnings that he considered Sweden’s wolf hunt to be in breach of EU laws.

Practically speaking, the move means the EU now sends a formal notification which Sweden must answer within two months.

If the answers aren’t satisfactory, the matter proceeds further and could eventually end up in court.

Potocnik writes that it is “highly doubtful” that Sweden’s wolf policy – despite “a lively exchange of information” between the Swedish government and the European Commission since June 2010 – complies with EU environmental legislation.

He takes issue not only with allowing the hunt despite the wolf’s poor conservation status in Sweden, but also with the decision to arbitrarily set the limit for the size of the wolf pack at 210 animals.

Potocnik also criticised Sweden for allowing the hunt before new wolves are introduced to the pack.

Carlgren remained confident that Sweden would prevail in the dispute.

“We’ll continue to inform the Commission about our work and I’m convinced that we’ll be able to assuage the doubts that the Commission has about our wolf policy,” he said.

“We think that policies for Swedish predatory animal policies should be set in Sweden, according to Swedish circumstances, not in Brussels.”

The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) welcomed the Commission’s decision to launch a formal infringement procedure against Sweden, hoping the country ends up before the European Court of Justice.

“Hopefully we’ll never have to see these hunts of a protected, threatened predatory animal. The licenced hunts in 2010 and 2011 have weakened the Swedish wolf pack and made it more vulnerable to illness and illegal hunting,” SSNC chair Mikael Karlsson said in a statement.

Story continues below…

Sweden opened a hunting season on January 15 allowing hunters to kill 20 wolves. More than 6,700 hunters participated in the hunt, the commission said.

The hunt follows a 2009 decision by parliament to limit the wolf population to 210 animals, spread out in 20 packs, with 20 new pups per year, for a period of five years by issuing hunting permits in regions where wolves have recently reproduced.

Sweden resumed wolf hunting last year when it set a quota of 28 wolves. It was the first wolf hunt since 1964.

Should the case reach the European Court of Justice, Sweden could be slapped with hefty fines for violating EU rules.

TT/AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

15:24 January 27, 2011 by Truthgate
Sweden is all about breaking laws, I miss old Sweden 
17:36 January 27, 2011 by rohermoker
Did Sweden surrender it's sovereignty when it joined the EU?, and if the EU fines Sweden why would you send it to Brussels to let the Walloons buy more beer. From what I have read in other reply's those Swed hunter's need the beer before they go hunting.
17:39 January 27, 2011 by GLO
Killing wolves is a crime against nature. Shsme on Sweden for permitting this. More fair to hunt the hunters....
18:50 January 27, 2011 by Redbee
Disgusted at the Swedish Government's decision to licence 6,700 sick hunters to kill and maim from a 200 wolf pack. .Always thought perhaps naively that Sweden upheld humane and decent principles but not it seems regarding animal wildlife . Remember the last wolf in Britain was hunted to extinction in Scotland in the early 18th .century , With Swedens huge land mass the killing of these animals is frankly ridiculous ,it's about Swedish rednecks ( they are in every country unfortuately ) getting their kicks out of cruelty ,it makes them feel big but to animal lovers they are pathetically small and have dead eyes .
19:39 January 27, 2011 by Investor612
Well, I'm confident that bureaucrats in Brussels know much better than Swedish wildlife professionals what the optimum number of wolves in Sweden should be. After all, we all know the more distant the bureaucracy the better suited it is to manage local affairs.
20:26 January 27, 2011 by Rick Methven
opposition to the wolf "cull" is not just from the EU, It started in Sweden. But an American can not be expected to realise that.
21:47 January 27, 2011 by Sithaigh
This makes no sense whatsoever. you are killing them and then bringing in puppies!!!!!!

If the problem is the breeding lines are to thin, then you could tranquilise and castrate the inbreed males without killing them.

Seriously Wolves are too rare to shoot.

Its 2011, not 1811!!!!!!!!
08:35 January 28, 2011 by calebian22
Shoot the wolves.
08:57 January 28, 2011 by Da Goat
It does no harm to hunt the wolves and keep them mean and keen (wild)

as no one can afford for them to breed out of control and move into town become lazy and eat children!

keep them scared of humans is a good thing!

it was not that long ago they were hunting school children in town they should be living peacefully out in the bush!
09:26 January 28, 2011 by HYBRED
Kill Em & Grill Em
09:27 January 28, 2011 by samwise
the hunters are protecting lovely bunnies, deers, etc, those are lives too.

Where is the love for vegetarians?
21:30 January 28, 2011 by rohermoker
We all kill to eat, you can hear the cabbace cry when you cut them if you listen verrrry carefulllly :-)
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