Finland rapped over wolf hunting

Allowing the hunting of wolves to protect livestock is unacceptable as it is not proven that the occasional predation on domestic animals meets the legal definition of serious damage, the ECJ has held.


The ECJ issued its judgement this week in the case of Commission v Finland (Case C-342/05) in which Finland’s transposition of the Habitats Directive (Directive 92/43/EC) was at issue.

The case concerned wolf hunting and the Commission contended that by authorising wolf hunting in breach of the grounds of derogation in Art 16(1) of the Habitats Directive, Finland had failed to fulfil their obligations under the Directive.

Article 16 sets out that a Member State can derogate from protecting flora and fauna provided that the derogation does not adversely affect the populations of the species, and must be for reasons that either protect flora and fauna and habitats, prevent serious damage to crops, livestock and fisheries, or is in the interests of public health and safety.

The ECJ held that by authorising wolf hunting on a preventative basis, without it being established that the hunting is such as to prevent serious damage within the meaning of Art 16(1)(b), Finland had failed to fulfil its obligations to protect flora and fauna under Arts 12(1) and 16(1)(b) of the Directive.

The full judgement can be found here.

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