07 March 2016
The EU (Environment, Maritime affairs and Fisheries, a Sheep in Wolf’s clothing?

Recently Finland killed more than 20% of its wolf population in a futile "experiment" to curb poaching. The French government is buckling under pressure from farming and hunting interest groups to cull or remove wolves from the landscape.

Numerous attempts were made to stop the killing in Finland but to no avail. What will happen in France?
Requests for intervention by the
EUROPEAN COMMISSION DIRECTORATE-GENERAL ENVIRONMENT (Mr Vella, Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries), also fell on deaf ears, or rather we have to put it a different way. It seems like the EU is slowly turning its back on the wolf due to the controversial predator’s reputation.
In words spoken on behalf of Mr Vella,

“The Commission is aware that Finland has a new wolf management plan in place since
2015 and this plan includes several projects for two years aiming to improve the coexistence between people and wolves. The assessment of the success of these projects by the Finnish authorities has started and the Commission will closely monitor the results.
The killing of wolves outside the reindeer herding area can only be legally implemented
fulfilling all the conditions for a derogation under article 16 of the Habitats Directive.”

He further stated
“The EU Habitats Directive1 provides a common framework for the conservation of
species listed therein. It is for EU Member States to take the necessary measures to
maintain healthy populations of these species, while taking account of economic, social
and cultural requirements.”

This is a rather peculiar response knowing that Finland made no secret of why they decided to kill 46 wolves in one hunt.
They did it to curb poaching, which is a rather odd but effective way of doing it, because the less animals there are to poach the smaller the number of poaching incidents. Its basic logic.
Its also stooges logic.
We can say that the Finnish government took into account economic, social and cultural requirements of small interest groups with huge economic leverage, but left the Finnish wolf population decimated and broken.
If experimental killing of a species is allowed where will it end? What protection are there really for a historically hated predator like the wolf.

The French government for one is under tremendous pressure to cull the few wolves that crossed the Alps into France. Farmers quote huge losses that sometimes border on fantasy and growing aggression in this industry towards the government and any pro wolf organisation or person, will soon result in governmental think scrums to find solutions. We all know what the “solutions” will be and it is not the non-lethal type of solution.

A few days ago in NEUFCHÂTEAU, Western Vosges a petition was drawn for the government to completely cull or remove wolves from the landscape. This followed many other incidents of farmers taking the law into their own hands to force the hand of the Government.

We are dealing in Europe with a shrinking generation of old school farmers who believed in “the only good wolf is a dead wolf”. A generation that unfortunately still wields a mighty sword when it comes to politics and economics.

How long will it be before the French government will also call for an attempt to appease the farming interest group in France and “experiment” with the killing of more than half the wolf population in France, and simultaneously address economic, social and cultural problems caused by the arrival of the besieged predator?

Has the time arrived where member states of the EU finally realised that the EU Big Brother is nothing more than a sheep in wolf clothing?
That the EU like sheep can be used to their own advantage and that there is really nothing the EU and its “Habitat Directive” can do but write inane letters pretending to be directing nature conservation in Europe.

By Vincent Kennard

 
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Pic credit: SVT