Wolf and fox hunting versus divided European societies
The conflict between hunters and conservation activist groups continues in England. The dispute also reveals English class divisions, clashing worldviews and urban-rural differences. Hunters still hunt foxes with dogs, although this was banned in 2004. Hunting with hounds running on an artificially marked track is instead permitted. According to activists, dogs often kill a real fox, which could be grounds for prosecution if there is evidence that hunters knew about the whole situation. They, in turn, explain that they hunt on private land with farmers’ permission and do not kill live animals. They also accuse the activists of trespassing on private property.
Wolf hunting has divided urban and rural communities among Sweden – hunters have been given permission by the government to kill a record number of 75 wolves. Currently, the population of this predator in the country is around 460. Environmental associations condemn the annual hunt, but wolves threaten farmers – in 2021, they killed more than 340 sheep. They also attack hunting dogs during hunts. In Sweden, hunting permits are also issued for brown bears, wolverines and lynxes, although these animals are considered endangered species.
Since February this year, shooting birds with lead shot has been banned in all wetlands and within 100 m of them in the European Union. The law covers all EU countries, including Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein. An estimated one million waterbirds die each year in the EU due to lead poisoning – 44,000 t of lead enters the environment annually, 32% of which comes from hunting.