European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has escalated the European Union’s “war on wolves”, with the bloc announcing it was looking to “modify” legal protections for the species.
The EU has now invited “all interested parties” to submit up-to-date population data on wolves in their respective regions to help to inform the legislative decision-making, setting a deadline of September 22.
Speaking about the review, von der Leyen emphasised that the protected species had now become a greater “threat” to Europeans and their animals.
“The concentration of wolf packs in some European regions has become a real danger for livestock and potentially also for humans,” she said.
She went on to “urge” local authorities across the bloc to “take action” to control the species where necessary, adding that current EU law “already enables them to do so”.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen voiced support for the killing of European wolves during her latest visit to Germany. https://t.co/x7ymvwSst3
— Brussels Signal (@brusselssignal) July 26, 2023
Having until now enjoyed strict protections under EU law, the growth of wolf populations throughout central Europe has resulted in increased attacks on livestock in recent months, prompting farmers to demand permission to cull the creatures.
According to UK newspaper The Guardian earlier this year, the farmers’ union in Brandenburg, northern Germany, home to the largest number of wolves in the country with an estimated 47 packs and 14 pairs, has called for a quota that could be shot legally each year, drawing on wolf population-control measures in Finland and Sweden.
Brandenburg permitted wolves to be shot in specifically defined cases in 2022, after a series of livestock killings. A male wolf was killed after 76 livestock deaths were attributed to it.
The issue of wolves recently got personal for von der Leyen, with the EC president waking up one morning at her home in Germany to find Dolly, her prized pony, had been brutally killed by one of the predators.
Since then, wolves have become a whipping-boys of the Brussels establishment, with talk regarding how best to control their numbers being a frequent topic of conversation for the European elite.
Politico, a central news outlet for the Brussels bubble, has even launched a dedicated website for tracking von der Leyen’s feud with “GW950m”, the name given to the wolf believed to have killed Dolly last year.
The EC president’s rhetoric towards the species has not softened since then, with the pony-lover in July openly backing wolf-hunting.
“If the species is no longer endangered in certain regions, we have to deal with the wolf differently and hunt it, for example,” she said.
President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen’s recent jaunt to Crete as guest of the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and his wife has sparked a wave of criticism. https://t.co/m6jBRWoXkQ
— Brussels Signal (@brusselssignal) August 16, 2023