Sweden relaxes rules on wild boar traps

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Wild boars are spreading across Sweden since some escaped from captivity in the 1970s. (SVT Bild / Radio Sweden)
Wild boars are spreading across Sweden since some escaped from captivity in the 1970s. (SVT Bild / Radio Sweden)

Wild boars are causing too much damage, says the Swedish government, which has now decided to allow people to use traps to stop the animals. Even traps that have not been passed by Sweden’s standards.

Sweden has over 150,000 wild boars. And although tens of thousands are shot by hunters every year, the numbers are growing.

A study by Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences suggests that many farmers are losing crops to wild boars. In southern and central Sweden around one in five farmers may lose up to 18 percent of certain crops: wheat and oats.

So now the Minister for Agriculture has announced a government decision, loosening the rules on what traps can be used. Minister Eskil Erlandson is a member of the traditionally agricultural Center Party.He says to Swedish Radio that new ways have to be found to reduce the damage done by wild boars and other wildlife.

“We can leave no stone unturned” he says, “to minimise the damage done by, for example, wild boar.” He says he has seen terrible damage done across Sweden; not just to farmers’ fields, but to football fields, golf courses, parks and people’s private gardens.

So now the government wants people to use all kinds of traps that have not been passed by the Swedish authorities. As long as they have been licensed by other countries in the European Union, and long as they also meet Swedish standards for animal welfare and safety.

And now anyone who wants to use a trap, that they think meets these standards, just now has to sent an application to the Environemntal Protection Agency and then get on with trapping boards. There is no need to actually get a permit.

The Agriculture Minister says that he knows that this change may be criticised, but he also says that this is something that people have been asking for. Minister Erlandsson says to Swedish Radio that he thinks this is a good way to make a change and still stay within the EU rules.

“There are other countries that license traps” he says. Adding that it is right to help people to trap boars, and also rats, mice or even foxes. He says this will mean less damage done, and also a way to keep a hold of the population of animals like wild boar.

The new rules on traps come into effect on the 15th of May.

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