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France eases law on farmers killing wolves

media French farmers protest at the re introduction of bears and wolves AFP PHOTO/Rémy Gabalda

The French parliament has passed a law relaxing the rules about farmers killing wolves in France.

Parliamentary debates on the issue have frequently aroused passions but yesterday’s amendment passed in relative calm.

Opposition conservative UMP member of parliament Nicolas Dhuicq labelled the wolf “a magnificent animal, totemic, but incompatible with farming”. He went on to declare that “we must contain it because we are not in North America or Siberia”.

Under new rules, a farmer can legally kill a wolf, even in zones where it is officially protected, if it is attacking livestock.

The authorisation lasts for one year, when it will be reviewed.

A recent regulation stipulating that a maximum of 24 wolves may be killed over a twelve month period, remains in place. However, over the last year, only eight wolves were killed, many fewer than the limit of 24, because it is difficult to trace them.

Wolves returned to France naturally in the early 1990s, crossing over from Italy, and they are now thought to number 300.

Most roam the Alps but some have gone further afield and the predators can now be found in the Pyrenees, central France, the Vosges, the Champagne area.

They are thought to have killed more than 6000 animals in 2013, according to Ecology Ministry figures.

On several occasions, farmers have held protests, complaining that wolves pose an unnecessary danger to their animals and impact on their livelihood.

However, many environmentalists welcome the return of the wolf to France.
 

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