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Europe rights court strikes down Germany hunting law

The European Court of Human Rights [official website] ruled [judgment; press release, PDF] Tuesday that a German law requiring landowners to allow hunting on their property is a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights [text]. The case was brought by Guenter Herrmann, who is morally opposed to hunting. He argued that the law intruded on his quiet enjoyment of his property. In its decision, the court found that Germany's program allowing landowners to collect royalties from hunters on request was inadequate to address the concerns of individuals who object to the sport. The court noted that it has invalidated similar laws in France and Luxembourg. Germany was ordered to pay Herrmann 5,000 euros in damages and 3,862 euros in costs. The decision of the court is final.

Hunting is a contentious issue in Europe. In 2009, the Swedish Sami Association (SSR) brought a lawsuit against the Swedish government [JURIST report] claiming that the state is violating the hunting rights of the indigenous Sami people by allowing all European Union (EU) citizens to hunt in a disputed mountainous region in northern Sweden. In 2005, British fox-hunters clashed with authorities [JURIST report] and advocates against animal cruelty on the first day of a ban on hunting with dogs. In 2004, a British hunting organization said it would file suit [JURIST report] to stop the ban from taking effect, and if they failed, they would seek an injunction to delay its enactment in February. The British government said it would not oppose the injunction.

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