On 20 April 2015, five men were convicted in a Norwegian court for breaching the penal law, namely for attempting to reduce the natural population of a protected endangered species on 15 February 2014. One was also charged with having killed a wolf on 14 March 2014. The sentences were the strictest ever imposed for similar crimes in Norway, with 20 months’ imprisonment for the main offender, partly because they were charged with organized crime—an aggravating circumstance. The verdict was appealed and a new conviction made on 5 April 2016, where the prison sentences for the five convicted men were considerably reduced, the strictest from 20 to 9 months, and with the law applied differently. The state appealed the decision from the Appeal Court to the Supreme Court [Høyesterett], concerning the application of law, and there four of the men were again found guilty of attempting to reduce the population of an endangered species. These verdicts invite discussion of how such crimes should be perceived-as serious organized crime or as “folk crimes”. This article argues that either way such acts should be regarded as theriocides that breach the Animal Welfare Act and its statement that animals have intrinsic value, and further that they cannot be viewed in isolation but must be seen in the context of state policy towards large predators. The crimes are thus discussed from a green criminology perspective, concentrating on seeing these theriocides as crimes, not “only” harms.
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