Petition No 2032/2013 by by Nuria Menendez de Llano Rodriguez (Spanish), on the violation of EU legislation on the protection of wolves in the region of Asturias, Spain
4 February 2014
Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE)
6 January 2014
Sandrine Bélier (Verts/ALE)
14 November 2013
Britta Reimers (ALDE)
21 May 2013
Brian Simpson (S&D)
22 November 2012
Cristiana Muscardini (ECR)
24 October 2012
Carl Schlyter (Verts/ALE)
27 September 2012
Philippe Boulland (PPE)
7 September 2012
Cristiana Muscardini (PPE)
26 July 2012
Rachida Dati (PPE)
The rising number of wolf attacks is jeopardising the future of sheep farms, which are an essential part of the economy and identity of mountain areas in France.
Despite the measures taken by the French Government to protect flocks and provide for the collection of special levies, the number of attacks continues to rise. In the first half of this year, in the department of Alpes de Haute-Provence alone, there have been 30 attacks, killing 102 sheep. These attacks have become more frequent recently, leaving some flocks literally decimated.
Wolves do untold damage to sheep farms: as well as killing animals, they injure them and cause miscarriages and weight loss among sheep. The attacks also compromise the quality of sheep farms, on which the reputation of many French regional specialty products is based.
With a view to defending this important sector of the rural economy and giving French sheep farmers the means to defend their flocks, the time has come to revise the overly narrow classification of wolves as a species of Community interest which enjoys a high level of protection at a European level under the Habitats Directive and, at a global level, under the Berne Convention.
The European Union must respond to the damage done by wolf attacks to European sheep farming by amending the relevant legislation in order to allow Member States to protect farmers’ livelihoods.
Sheep farmers are looking to the Commission for answers. Each year they face the same problem. What action will the Commission take to help European farmers deal with these attacks?
10 September 2012
Answer given by Mr Potočnik on behalf of the Commission
The Commission is aware that the population increase of wolves in mountainous regions can generate substantial constraints and additional costs for pastoral farmers. However, the Commission does not consider that this should trigger a change of the current protection status of the wolf at EU level, as requested by the Honourable Member.
The provisions of Council Directive 92/43//EEC(1) (‘Habitats Directive’), while requiring Member States to take actions to maintain or achieve a favourable conservation status of the wolf, offer a sufficient margin of manoeuvre to ensure that economically viable pastoral activities are preserved, including in those areas where wolf populations are currently recovering.
In order to help Member States in dealing with expanding populations of large carnivores, the Commission has previously supported the elaboration of ‘Guidelines for population level management plans for large carnivores’(2). Moreover, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD)(3) can provide support for implementing (only) preventive measures. However, the Fund cannot pay compensation for the damages done by large carnivores.
The Commission understands that the French authorities have already put in place the necessary incentives and payment schemes to help pastoral farmers to adapt their herd management to the presence of wolves.
(1) OJ L 206, 22.7.1992.
(3) OJ L 277, 21.10.2005.