ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS TO ALERT EU COMMISSION

Government's wolf policy a "trick"

Environmental groups in Sweden say the government's decision to stop this winter's wolf hunt is nothing more than a "trick" designed to stop legal proceedings by the EU Commission, and wolf hunting will return in 2013.

The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation , the Predatory Animal Association and World Wildlife Fund wrote to the EU Commission over a year ago informing it that Sweden's re-introduction of a licensed wolf hunt contravened EU law.

Last week, Sweden's Environment Minister Andreas Carlgren, called off this winter's wolf hunt, but did say that the government will increase the possibilities for a protective hunt of wolves that threaten livestock or humans, which is permitted under EU law.

The three environmental groups told Swedish Radio News that they will be writing to the EU Commission once again and warn it that hunting wolves in Sweden will continue.

"It's is really important to us that we alert the EU Commission that the government is trying to 'trick' the commission, saying they will stop it and then continuing the hunt , even though the wolf population is not viable," said Mikael Karlsson, chairman of the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation.

"The government hopes that with this maneuover, the commission will drop the case and it will avoid being taken to court , but as they have committed to begin again with licensed wolf hunts in 2013, both politically and in different documents, we argue that the question must be tried. We want to have a precedent in court that prohibts future licensed hunting," Mikael Karlsson told SR Ekot.

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