Finland in wolf hunting howler

Finland has been savaged by the European Court of Justice for authorising wolf hunting without proving the activity would not cause long-term damage to populations of the predator.

Commission v Finland

Natural Habitats

The European Court of Justice found that Finland had failed in its obligations under Article 12(1) and Article 16(1) of the Habitats Directive 92/43/EEC when it authorised the hunting of wolves without being able to demonstrate that the conditions for an exemption of this nature were met in accordance with Article 16(1) of the Directive.

The Court noted that any measure taken must achieve the goals of the exemption and that the disadvantages caused by the exemption must be proportionate to it’s aims.

The Court went on to indicate that it would require scientific confirmation that hunting is likely to maintain the wolves’ fear of humans, and that it would therefore be an effective method of deterring them from various destructive practices.

The scientific assessment would also have to detail the effects that could be anticipated from the programme, and the form that would result in the least possible damage to the population of the wolves.

Consideration of alternative measures that could be taken was also important in determining the question of whether the measure taken was proportionate. Such measures included putting cattle in sheds or behind fences at night.

The text of the case is available in French following the link.

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