EU countries want wolf hunting again to protect grazing livestock

European Environment Commissioner Virginius Sinkevicius believes that wolves and agriculture should coexist. He does not think that the hunting of wolves should be reopened. According to Sinkevicius, the emphasis should be placed on the protection of grazing livestock by erecting fences and building sleeping quarters and stables. 

Wolf attacks on sheep, goats and cattle across Europe have been steadily increasing for decades. More than 17,000 wolves are currently registered across Europe. Sinkevicius stressed in Brussels on Monday that the EU Habitats Directive does not need to be amended to contain the wolf population. 

The EU countries already have the option to allow the shooting of problem wolves as an exception. Some EU Member States have already made use of the exemption option in the EU Habitats Directive. In that EU variant of the Bern Convention ('red list'), the wolf is considered one of the most protected animals.

Austria called for a revision of the outdated protection directive for the first time in 30 years, receiving support from 16 EU member states at Monday's Agriculture Council in Brussels. They also called for uniform monitoring of wolves across Europe; now every country still does that for itself. 

The mountainous and forested EU countries asked the European Commission to classify the wolf in a lower class, just like non-EU country Switzerland. Environment Commissioner Vinkevicius pointed out that the EU cannot change the Bern Convention, but it can change its own implementing rules. And, according to him, they already make it possible to shoot problem wolves. 

But the sixteen EU countries do not want permission to kill 'one' wolf afterwards, but want to be able to control the size of the wolf packs in advance by means of hunting permits. 

They also asked for more financial support for the already existing claims settlement that only provides standard compensation. There is also a limited subsidy for the construction of fences and fences, but not for permanent surveillance. The future Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) supports such concerns and finances 100 percent of the investments, according to Brussels.