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Sunday, 11 April 2010

Abstract: The legality and ethical legitimacy of wolf hunting in Scandinavia

I have just submitted an abstract to the 52nd research seminar of the Scandinavian Research Council for Criminology (SCRfC), to take place at Hønefoss, Norway, May 10-12.

The legality and ethical legitimacy of wolf hunting in Scandinavia

This presentation will partake in the session May 11th, “Globalisering i kriminologien og økologisk kriminologi”.

First, I will briefly examine laws and rules regulating wolves in Norway and Sweden since “Lov om Utryddelse af Rovdyr og Fredning af andet Vildt” (Law on Extinction of Carnivores and Protection of other Wildlife) was enforced in Norway in 1845. This section will include comparisons of Norwegian and Swedish management regulations. In Norway, wolves have had the status of a protected species since 1972, but conservation policies remain controversial – and are regularly sabotaged by means of illegal hunting. The same goes for Sweden, which in January orchestrated the first legal wolf hunt for more than a generation.

Second, I will discuss the ethical legitimacy of legal and illegal wolf hunting respectively. How do they compare, in terms of what is justifiable in light of sustainable development etc.? The centrality of this question is evidenced by the fact that a majority of Scandinavian wolves today die in the encounter with a bullet. Even though the motivation of the various shooters varies greatly, the outcome for the wolf is systematically similar. Unlike illegal hunting, legal hunts have the sanction of the law. From a pragmatic standpoint, however, the attempts to negotiate agreement with opponents of conservation policies by allowing or conducting wolf hunts do not seem to have much effect on the level of illegal hunting. Rather than working so as to combat illegal hunting, one could claim that current management strategies rather legitimize wolf hunting as a phenomenon in general.

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