Sweden: 622 Bears will be killed in trophy hunting



Unmasking the myth of a civilized country. Cruelty to animals prevails in Sweden.

by Eva Stjernswärd, artist painter and hunting critic
Image: Abraham Hondius, Chasse à l’ours (1683)/Wikimedia commons


Sweden is selling out strictly protected animals like brown bears, lynxes and wolves to brutal trophy hunting. The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) give permission to the County Administrative Boards to decide the hunting quota each year. Hunting activists in the Swedish Hunting Association and in the reindeer industry succeed every year lobbying for an increased elimination of endangered predators. Trophy hunting is an act of sanctioned animal cruelty and appeals for protection are constantly denied.
This year’s massacre of 622 bears started 21st of August.  

Sentient beings do suffer  
In 1789: the British philosopher Jeremy Bentham challenged “The question is not Can they reason, nor Can they speak – the question that must be asked is: Can they suffer?”

Barbaric hunting methods, illustrated in baroque art three hundred years ago, correspond to the way predator hunting prevail in Sweden. Today’s hunters subject their dogs as well as the bears to violence. Bears, over-sensitive to heat and stress, are hunted with aggressive hounds from dawn to dusk, during two months, in seven counties. This occurs during the critical period of vital feeding (hyperphagia) for bears to accumulate enough fat to survive the long Scandinavian hibernation of 5-7 months. The stress to find energy food is even greater for

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female bears, as they must give birth to the new generation during hibernation and feed their young with high-fat milk.  

Anti-predator rhetoric. The seven northern County Administrative Boards motivates licensed trophy hunting as a remedy to; “alleviate people’s fear of predators”, “reduce illegal hunting and increase confidence in the local management of predators”.  
As illogical as if legalized prostitution would lessen men’s violence against women.

Omen of chaos and death. Hunting inflicts extreme stress, causes PTSD, disrupts feeding, mating and hibernation. This year nearly 25 percent of the bear population of Sweden’s 2900 individuals will be slaughtered and last year more than 500.
What are the psychological, ecological, biological and demographic consequences of such extreme hunting in times of climate change, wild fires, seasonal timing shifts, habitat loss and pollution? This day and age - what does it say about Swedish moral and ethic?  

Sweden entertains a new warrior class. A country that increase animal factory farming, keep up mink farming and supports gamifying violence against wild animals in hunting, is not the model state for animal welfare that some Swedish politicians falsely asserts before the European Union. Wild animals are not protected by the Animal welfare law. Hunting regulations protect hunter’s interests, as to normalize the violence against wild animals; hunting as leisure and sport, population control and wildlife management. This agenda has created a new warrior class: extreme predator hunters with fighting dogs.  
Illegal hunting with sadistic methods is common, but Swedish hunt managers never take into consideration how legal hunting in tandem with poaching afflict animals. In practice, Swedish hunting regulations sanctions legal killing of wild animals basically every day of the year. Day and night depending on the species. Wild animals are forced to live in constant fear of human predators and hunting dogs. Hunters can even train their dogs on live animals. The Hunting Association proudly commercialize Sweden as “the most hunting liberal country” to attract additional 30 000 foreign hunters every year to plunder Nature of her peaceful inhabitants.

The unbearable lightness of killing wild animals for pleasure and sport is a murderous business in Sweden. Semi-automatic weapons and silencers, GPS device and cameras on the dogs, all for a subculture of trophy hunting warlords to develop within the traditional Swedish hunting. Privat events with celebrities test shooting on live animals, are sponsored by exclusive brands from the weapon industry. Commercialized hunting is the obscene business entertained by both private and stately landowners.

Swedish wildlife management is the human-induced Ecology of Fear. The “misogynistic” practice of hunting females and their young or killing young in front of their mothers is a common hunter practice for all sorts of wild species. It is even recommended in protective hunting of lynxes and bears, “to shoot the young before the mother”, by the County Administrative Boards. Against all ethics, the trophy hunt for lynx is shamelessly scheduled during their mating period. Also wolves, foxes, badgers and wolverines and their cubs are persecuted and killed in their dens or resting places. Technically also pregnant females can be killed as hunting seasons have been largely extended. Trapping, snaring and baiting are medieval methods used in “civilized” Sweden as well as attractants to lure animals into death traps or ambush gunning. Animal families are destroyed, their young are abandoned or orphaned, bears and all other animals often suffer painful deaths. None can defend themselves from today’s war on wildlife.


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Collateral damage to bears, even if not killed, is openly ignored. Maiming and injuring animals during hunting is belittled and killing bear cubs or yearlings “by mistake” is common. Hunters are never punished: the hunter that injured and shot a bear in the mouth 2020, could boast of finishing off the same bear in 2021.  
Professor Birger Schantz, former veterinary surgeon and expert in studying gun wounds for twenty years, explained: “Nobody can say that a shot animal does not suffer. What we do know is that the nerve system that register pain looks the same in all mammals. A good rule (for understanding) is that what you think hurts on you, also hurts on an animal.”

A mother bear was killed when protecting her cubs from a hunting dog. The moose hunter claimed defense of the dog he had let loose, knowing it was a bears habitat. The cubs hiding up in a tree, as they are taught by their mother, likely starved to death as cubs depend on their mother for at least two years. No legal policy exist to rescue wild animals.

Hunting poison the Circle of Life. An environmental scandal, is the use of 600-700 tons of lead every year for hunting ammunition. Wounded animals and birds from gun shots continue led poisoned but die out of sight: more than sixty percent of wild geese live with led pellets in their bodies and so do many wolves, lynxes and foxes. Hunters are leaving butchery and carcasses everywhere and poisoned birds and scavengers have long been silent victims of this abuse. Birds also mistake lead pellets for grains around feeding places where animals are lured to be shot, often close to or on agricultural soil. The ecological hypocrisy of landowners selling hunt leases.  
Now lead is also found in the blood and milk of Swedish brown bears: ten times higher than the EU threshold value for damage on the human nerve system. The bear cubs are contaminated from birth in their den. This is not mentioned when issuing hunt permits, on the contrary, consumption and commercialization of bear meat and trophies is encouraged by the County Administrative Boards, that also have been caught creating illicit slaughtering sites, violating CITES-rules, to facilitate for hunters to take the trophies in situ.    

Tyranny of the hunting minority (<3% of population). The strategy of institutions that enables wildlife exploitation, the EPA and the County Administrative Boards, is to employ hunters. Hunting has corrupted Swedish wildlife management and politicians to such an extent that the purpose of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and the EU species and habitat directive are regularly violated. Sweden blatantly abuses these stringent protection laws by adjusting its own national loopholes and unrestrainedly interpreting the limited hunting exemptions to sustain the trophy hunting industry. Interestingly, the Court of administrative law, for appeals concerning protected predators (Luleå), is geographically placed in the region that houses the highest number of hunters per inhabitant. Could this affect the jurymen?  

A Swedish disgrace. The County Administrative Boards have increased protective hunting each year since 2010. The reindeer industry wins over bears, wolves, lynxes and wolverines as they can be gunned down legally from helicopters and chased with snowmobiles, accused of disturbing reindeer husbandry. In spite of the industry being generously compensated by the state for any loss of reindeers. The hatred of predators in these regions is irreconcilable. A village recently proposed bounty money for killing them.  
In 2017 as many as 71 bears were killed in few spring months. The five tons of bear carcasses where burned and destroyed to the greedy annoyance of hunters. Animals killed in protective hunting could not be kept as trophies before. Reminding corruption, the EPA recently sneaked through a new pro-hunter instruction to please hunters in the North – now they can keep trophies and even take on “hunting guests” for the helihunting.
 

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Rotten Santa reside in Sweden. Swedish reindeer meat products from across Lapland have EU’s Protected Designation of Origin status (PDO) and function as a marketing coup for the reindeer meat industry to reach the global food market.
Can export of gourmet food to Europe be considered “environmental friendly” if the value include the killing of protected bears, lynxes, wolves and wolverines? Are the unethical and gruesome handling and slaughter methods of the reindeers not known as are the horrors behind French luxury food foie gras?
Nothing seem to have changed in spite of the investigation and undercover journey to Sweden by British journalist Rich Hardy. In his book “Not As Nature intended”, the chapter “Last Christmas” describe the methods of handling, transporting and killing reindeer. A scary nightmare far from the nomadic sami culture that once existed. Hardy writes “…the tens of thousands of reindeer are herded (with helicopters and snowmobiles) and trucked to commercial slaughterhouses to meet a demise that is anything but traditional.”

What if our children would understand the bloody nightmare of real Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer – and for all the “Teddy-Bears” killed in this instant all over Sweden?

The intricate Web of Life has never been more fragile. The decline of wildlife worldwide and above all - the suffering caused by humans to non-human animals every second - how can nations like Sweden pretend to be civilized when nurturing a shady business like trophy hunting? How can Sweden trivialize cruel hunting for self-gratification, when this clearly exposes a sadistic side of man against the innocent. Hunting is about cruelty and killing for fun is an addiction.  

Barbarians in Sweden exposed.
The time will come when the mere pleasure of killing will die out in man. As long as it is there, man has no claim to call himself civilized, he is a mere barbarian.” (Swedish writer Axel Munthe, 1929) Citations from journalist Eduardo Gonçalves book Trophy Hunters exposed: “It is time for a new contract with nature. Society has banned many forms of animal cruelty and blood-sports such as bear baiting and dogfighting. However trophy hunting has so far escaped. The unbridled human supremacy within the natural world must be discarded, for all our sakes”.  

There it is! The great Counter Force of Protectors, on the rise thanks to intelligent and compassionate journalists, scientists, writers, activists and hard working animal defenders together with all humans who understand that we share the fear of pain and the fear of death with all beings. 

139   28 days ago
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139   28 days ago
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