Slaughter of wolves in Scandinavia

The shameful War against

Wolves in Sweden and Scandinavia

Questionable and

partly biased background information concerning the present wolf slaughter in

Sweden 2022,

by Eva Stjernswärd



Board member of NGO

Jaktkritikerna (Hunting Critics) and Dris (Animal’s Voice in Society) against

licensed hunting in Sweden.


 The current hunt in 2022 is more cruel than usual as the different

local County Boards are cooperating to eradicate whole wolf families from their

territory and habitat. Norway (A non EU-country where the hunt for 54 wolves

can go on until 31st of May) and Sweden are cooperating with each

other in this grotesque extermination, creating a wolf holocaust. On the

Swedish side nearly 2 000 hunters have registered to kill 27 wolves.

Finland will also started a hunt for 18 wolves on February 1st. So in Scandinavia more than 99

wolves will be slaughtered in the most gruesome ways in 2022. 

Wolves and other predators were almost eradicated because of human

persecution toward the end of the 19th century. In the early part of

the 1900’s, the romanticism of nature as well as people moving in to urban

areas helped to awaken an appreciation of a diverse fauna. Even the hunter’s association

helped to protect certain species. But unfortunately in the late 1930’s the

hunters association was nominated by the state to be responsible for wild life

management and they were granted huge economic resources, which coupled the

state and hunting interests, copied from a model then being utilized in

authoritarian Germany. This model is still valid and renders them a budget of

approximately 5.6 million dollars each year. This has created an institution that

exerts control over wild life as well as being a lobbying force infiltrating

the government and the political agenda for hunting on all levels. This is despite hunters only representing

less than 3 % of the population.   

Why is there trophy hunting in

a developed country like Sweden?

Wolves were completely

protected from 1966 to save the species. But as we can see this has changed in

spite of being under the EU protection laws when Sweden agreed to enter the EU

in 1995. As from 2010 licensed hunting has escalated trophy hunting in Sweden,

as hunters can now kill bears, lynxes and wolves. Foreign hunters are welcomed

too. The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency changed its strategy of wild

life management in favor of hunters after a string of political changes from

the end of the 1990’s. This escalated when hunters decided that predators,

especially wolves, should be viewed as competitors for other game that they

were hunting! This had a negative impact on all wild animals, but for predators

in particular, as they were politicized.


Reindeer farming has developed

very unlike its cultural heritage and is now an industry with export ambitions. Not to mention the

extreme cruelty with which farmers are allowed to handle reindeers (Not as Nature intended – A book by

undercover journalist Rich Hardy). These semi-wild animals are transported to

slaughter houses in masses. Snowmobiles and helicopters are used to round the

animals up under stressful conditions. Although climate change is more of a

threat than predators, enormous financial support from the state keeps this

cruel business alive.

There is huge

financial support to reindeer owners/villages from the state to “accept” the

presence of predators in their land, as well as payment for each of their animals

taken by predators. However, this in no way protects the predators from

ultimately being killed. On the contrary; this has been proven by the increase

in so called protective hunting as well as illegal hunting. For wolves, this is

a lethal problem in additional ways; as the only path to genetic renewal actually

comes from Finland and Russia. No wolves survive if they enter Sweden. The hate

of wolves has become pathological when not even “stately bribes” can save them.

In some regions it’s like a reminder of the witch hunts that took place against

women in the seventeenth century.

 The debate about the

degeneration in Swedish wolves has been unsuccessful in achieving any more

protection for them than other than token numbers.

In 2016 the Supreme

Administrative Court ruled that 300 wolves must be the minimum for conservation

of the species. Instead of this being a minimum - it is used as a maximum of

tolerance by the EPA and the hunters. Biological and scientific proof does not

help. The legal system is basing its judgement on this, which in general leave

the NGO’s appeal with hardly any success in saving individuals. The European

Commission has an open case against Sweden’s wolf hunt but nothing concrete has

been achieved yet.

Sweden’s repetitive

violation of the EU’s Habitats Directive continues and by customizing its own

national loop holes and interpretation of the exception rules for limited

hunting, Sweden is also undermining the aim and purpose of the Convention on

International Trade in Endangered Species, CITES, as export permits for all

trophies is easily granted by the Agricultural Board. On this note, its worth

mentioning that Swedish government refused to take up the ban on import of

trophies from canned lion hunts in 2016/2017, which would have been a low

hanging fruit. Unfortunately it shows that most politicians in all parties are

not at all engaged when it comes to animal protection, and definitely when

hunting is concerned.

Despite the Covid

pandemic the mink industry and industrial farming of pigs and chickens prevails

in horrible conditions in Sweden.

More than 7 000 red

listed predators have been killed in 20 years


The Swedish

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Naturvårdsverket,

has even increased the quota for legal trophy hunting. Since the year 2000 more

than 7 000 brown bears, lynxes, wolves and wolverines have been killed

legally in this system.  

 In Sweden today, we

have an estimated 2 800 brown bears, not much over 1 000 lynxes and perhaps

600 wolverines. This is in a country with a low density of people in the areas

where predators naturally have their habitats. But predators have become chess

pieces on the political agenda. This polarization is based on predator conflicts

locally by hunters, livestock owners, reindeer keepers and of course the economic

interest groups behind them.

The system of

monitoring and counting wolves is done by local authorities and hunters. As the

wolf is considered not only to be a threat to livestock but as a competitor in

the hunter’s quest for wild game – it’s easy to conclude that the hunters want

to demonstrate as high a count of predators as possible.

In addition, humans

are diminishing predator’s territory in general, with exploitation of land for

livestock, especially the huge areas in northern Sweden where reindeers are

kept roaming free.

Wolf population

The number of wolves

is always debated and questioned as illegal hunting still counts for 10-20 %. When

the counting of individuals is done (1st October to 1st

March) these wolves as well as the animals killed in accidents or for other

reasons (killed in livestock conflicts for example) after this date, are not

accounted for. This means that wolves killed after 1st March and

until the following autumn, that is several months after, when the hunting decisions

are being made are not included! Some believe that there could therefore be

even less than 300 wolves.



The “precautionary principle” is not a Swedish forte

When it concerns

bears, wolves and lynxes, the “precautionary principle” is largely ignored.

The official number given

was 395 wolves when the authorities took the decisions to kill 27 to 33 of them

in 2022. Some local counties are even trying to extend the areas to be sure to

kill wolves that are trying to flee. This is what can happen on the border to

Norway (involving administrative boards in Dalarna, Värmland and Jämtland) and

it is repeatedly happening in the county of Gävleborg. Legally it should not be

allowed to change or extend hunting areas that were initially drawn up when the

decisions was made, in November/December. But the local administrative boards

of the mentioned regions above – are hard liners against predators, as are all

the northern regions. We do not know yet what the courts will say.

 What is both cruel and

alarming - is the inbreeding and degeneration in Swedish wolves.

Many male wolves have

only one testicle (cryptorchidism) and autopsies of killed wolves show cruel

proof of hunters sadism – many have old wounds and lead ammunition in their


 In Sweden the predators are

killed against the EU directives for protection of species. Labeled

license hunting and/or protective hunting

 Both methods have increased since 2010. The

Swedish Environmental Protection Agency has delegated the decisions to local

government boards in each county that houses predators. The protective hunting

orders are often given over the phone and mostly the animals are permitted to be

killed the same day. The time to challenge the decisions by NGO’s is therefore futile

and purely symbolic. These hunts are fast executions done by helicopter and snowmobile.

On the ground dogs are utilized to track them down if they try to hide in dens.

The heli-hunts might be inspired from American war-fare…and also what is

happening now in the US. Sadly these methods spread like a pandemic due to

globalization and hunters’ international organizations. Historically, Americans

started shooting African game from trains and cars in the era of the white hunters, also the time of the

Swedish baron Blixen (husband of author Karen Blixen) who guided all the rich

and famous on trophy hunting and killing tours in Africa.

So cruelty still takes

its toll in Sweden. Females with young are not spared. For example wolverine

females with cubs are permitted to be killed in their den. Female lynx with

cubs are killed from helicopter and the “ethics order” is to kill the

“children” before the mother…

The licensed hunt for

lynx takes place from 1st of March – which is the mating season of

the shy felines. A real crime! Our Nordic Leopard!

 Legislation against animal

abuse does not include wild animals – only hunting laws are applied.

Swedish hunting laws

are based on the use of animals as objects - owned by the hunter and/or

landowner. State land/forests are also leased for hunting and its big business,

as well as for all the agricultural farmers who lease the right to hunt on

their land. Wild life has no respite. Not even in a National Park or nature

reserve, where EPA permits hunting. The sea is also a hunting ground and EPA is

extending hunting every year on all species of seals, even the very threatened

red listed species in the northern Baltic Sea.

 Preventive killing so called skyddsjakt, technically an “own initiative”,

self-assessed killing action

Legislation allows for

killing predators in situ, as a prevention method to stop an attack. This of

course is used without control from authorities and it can’t be excluded that

dogs often provoke bears for example, while hunting other game.  And the most common argument from hunters is

that dogs are killed by wolves and that they cannot hunt elk as freely as they

want with loose dogs.

Needless to say, loose

dogs in wolves’ habitats should be prohibited – a NO GO.

Since 2010 this legislation

has been used with an alarming increase as the “excuse” to kill bear, wolves

and lynx. Very few cases lead to investigation and are annulled due to lack of

proof. The issue of animal abuse when killing a female bear for example (and

then discovering two cubs hiding in trees) or parental wolves leaving pups is

never punished or even discussed.

 The collateral damage

and the frequent wounding by hunters or dogs is never punished.

  Cruel hunting with dogs

Pack hound hunting has

developed in Sweden and is becoming animal abuse for both dogs and wild animals

that is not addressed at all. Swedish hunters have also introduced new type of

aggressive hunting dogs, which are trained on predators. The Swedish

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), mainly responsible for wild life and

hunting issues, has extended the rights to hunt with loose dogs – 3 dogs are

allowed to chase 1 wolf, it doesn’t matter whether a puppy or adult. The non-ethical

hunting methods also include old medieval ways of hunting with beaters and circling

the environment with “scary wires with moving textiles”, set up to enclose the

fleeing wolves and force them towards the hunters.



Training of hunting dogs in

the wild on predators in their habitat

The worst is that EPA

has introduced even more vile techniques – namely that all hunters can train

their dogs one month before the official hunting starts! Even in areas of

Sweden where the licensed hunt will not be granted.

This means training on

wild bears (with their cubs) in their habitats begins from July-August (hunt

starts 21st August), on wolves in December (hunt starts 2nd

January) and lynx in February (hunt starts 1st March). It is also

permitted to train dogs on captured wild animals in special training centers.

This sadistic practice is not addressed by the EPA, even though many protests

are heard from NGO’s. Simultaneously hunting with dogs terrorizes other

wildlife, like hunting for boar that is permitted nearly all year round as well

as nighttime.

Sweden’s hunting lobby

is firming its grip on all wildlife and the legal system for hunting is rigged.

To spin the wheel of death the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency has

liberated hunting even more on all animals, including migrating birds like

cranes and swans with a renewed decree from 2021 to 2026! Be sure to watch the interview at   


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