After an administrative appeals court in Sundsvall became the latest court to reject appeals against the culling of 22 wolves in Sweden this winter, the Swedish Carnivore Association on Thursday took the appeal to the Supreme Administrative Court – the highest administrative court in Sweden.
“In our new appeal we explain that there are several things which are important for the courts to clarify,” said Torbjörn Nilsson, chairman of the association, in a statement.
Sweden has a total wolf population of around 355 animals, according to recent estimates, and authorities have previously said it should have a minimum of 300 wolves. However, the Carnivore Association argues that the figure may not be correct and includes already deceased animals.
The group urged the Supreme Administrative Court to call off the hunt, alternatively change the terms to require hunters to keep their dogs on a leash.
“Allowing a group of dogs to pursue and bait a wild animal is a cruel and stressful form of hunting, which has no place in Swedish hunting tradition,” said Nilsson.
The hunt is set to take place in five counties between January 2nd and February 15th, with a limit on the number of animals which may be killed in each county. A maximum of two wolves may be killed in Örebro and Gävleborg, while the limit for Dalarna, Värmland and Västmanland is six.
Various organizations, including the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, called for the hunt to be stopped earlier this year. On the other hand, organizations including the National Hunting Association (Jägarnas riksförbund) requested that the cull be extended.
Around 8,000 appeals are submitted to the Supreme Administrative Court every year, but it only grants leave to appeal to around two percent of them, based on how important a judgment could be as a precedent.