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European Union

Human Rights court rules for German anti-hunt landowner

The European Court of Human Rights has reached its final decision in a case of a German landowner who does not want hunting to take place on his land.

Günter Herrmann lives in Stutensee and owns two plots of land in Rhineland-Palatinate that are smaller than 75 hectares. As a result, under the Federal Hunting Law, he is automatically a member of the Langsur hunting association and has to tolerate hunting on his premises.

However, Herrmann is opposed to hunting on ethical grounds. So he filed a request with the hunting authority to terminate his membership of the association. It was refused.

So he took his case to court, arguing that the obligation to tolerate hunting violated his right to the peaceful enjoyment of his possessions. The case reached the European Court of Human Rights in February 2007.

On Tuesday, the Grand Chamber reached its final decision and the judges ruled that there had been a violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 (protection of property) to the European Convention on Human Rights.

It said that an obligation to tolerate hunting on their property imposed a disproportionate burden on landowners who were opposed to hunting for ethical reasons.

The court held that Germany was to pay Herrmann 5,000 euros ($6,250) in respect of non-pecuniary damage and 3,861.91 euros in respect of legal costs and expenses.

Author: Jane McIntosh
Editor: Mark Hallam