The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has set strict limits to permits for the shooting of wolves. In a ruling on Thursday, the Luxembourg judges concluded that strict conditions had to be met in order to release the animals for launch.
Among other things, the authorities would have to define a clear objective and scientifically prove that the shooting would serve it. In addition, killings are only allowed if there is no alternative, and it must be proven that the procedure does not reduce the stock. To do this, authorities would have to scrutinize just how big the packs are and what impact a kill has.
Intentional killing of wolves is prohibited in EU law. However, exemptions may be granted.
Background of the current procedure is a case from Finland. The environmental association Tapiola had complained against the decision of the local wildlife authority to allow two hunters for a monthly period in early 2016, the shooting of a total of seven wolves.
Increase the general sense of security of the people
The authority justified the approval with "stock maintenance" and the containment of poaching. Damage to dogs should be prevented and the general sense of security of the people increased and the "social tolerance" against wolves should be increased.
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Similar to Germany, the proliferation of wolf packs also encounters resistance in Finland, especially among livestock breeders. It happened several times in Finland that poachers killed wolves on their own initiative.
The Finnish Supreme Administrative Court had asked the ECJ for advice on how to interpret the EU Habitats Directive. This should protect habitats, animals and plants. The law prohibits the killing of a number of strictly protected species - including the wolf. However, there are exceptions, which have now been defined more precisely by EU judges.
With regard to the case in Finland, the ECJ announced that it had to be scientifically proven that wolf killings actually limited poaching and did not endanger the herd's population. The Luxembourg judges did not explain what such evidence could look like. In any case, shooting would only come into consideration if a greater tolerance for the wild animals could not be achieved otherwise.
The Finnish court must now decide the case, taking into account the ECJ's comments.
Controversy over the wolf in Germany
Farmers in Germany complain that they have to work hard to protect their livestock from predators. The Federal Government provides funds to support it. In May 2019, she also decided that wolves may be shot down as a precautionary measure when they rip farm animals. Environmentalists showed incomprehension. Even wolves, which had approached people again and again, were released in Germany for launch.
According to the documentation and advice center of the federation on the subject of wolf (DBBW) live in the entire German federal territory 73 pack, five wolf couples and ten single animals, most of them in Lower Saxony (20 pack), Saxonia (18 pack), Brandenburg (17 pack) and Saxony-Anhalt (13 packs).