Decisions on licensed culling of wolves

Supreme Court judgment 26 March 2021, HR-2021-662-A, (case no. 20-055609SIV-HRET), civil case, appeal against judgment. 

I. 
The State represented by the Ministry of Climate and Environment (The Office of the Attorney General represented by Asgeir Nygård), (Assisting counsel: Elisabeth Stenwig), The Norwegian Farmers' Union (intervener), Norskog (intervener), The Norwegian Forest Owners' Federation (intervener) (Counsel Bjørn Terje Smistad), Utmarkskommunenes Sammenslutning (Counsel Stein Erik Stinessen) (intervener)

v.

WWF Norway (Counsel Carl Philip Funder Fleischer), (Assisting counsel:Erlend Haaskjold)

II. 
WWF Norway (Counsel Carl Philip Funder Fleischer), (Assisting counsel:Erlend Haaskjold)

v.

The State represented by the Ministry of Climate and Environment (The Office of the Attorney General represented by Asgeir Nygård), (Assisting counsel: Elisabeth Stenwig), The Norwegian Farmers' Union (intervener), Norskog (intervener), The Norwegian Forest Owners' Federation (intervener) (Counsel Bjørn Terje Smistad), Utmarkskommunenes Sammenslutning (Counsel Stein Erik Stinessen) (intervener)

Justices: Øie, Skoghøy, Normann, Falch, Bergh

In the winter of 2017-2018, the Ministry of Climate and the Environment made three decisions on culling of wolves in accordance with section 18 of the Nature Diversity Act. One of the decisions concerned wolves mainly roaming outside the wolf zone (the free-roaming animal decision), while the other two concerned wolves roaming outside the wolf zone, but within wholly Norwegian wolf groups (the group decisions). In an action brought by WWF Norway, the Supreme Court ruled that all three decisions were valid. The decisions were based on the Nature Diversity Act and the Predator Regulations, and did not contravene the Berne Convention. The culling did not threaten the survival of the wolf population. The free-roaming animal decision fulfilled the purpose of section 18 subsection 1 (b) of the Nature Diversity Act on removal to prevent damage to crops. The group decisions fulfilled the purpose in section 18 subsection 1 (c) on removal to safeguard "other public interests of substantial importance". It was pointed out that this provision allows for the inclusion of a wide range of public interests. There were no satisfactory alternatives to culling that could fulfil these purposes. The District Court's ruling in favour of the State was upheld.

Read the whole judgment

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