Norwegian herder ordered to put down dozens of reindeer in controversial cull


Days before Rudolph and his team set off with Santa’s sleigh on their annual round-the-world dash, a Norwegian reindeer herder has been ordered to put down dozens of their real-life relatives in a controversial cull. The supreme court in Oslo rejected an appeal by Jovsset Ante Sara, a small reindeer herder from the indigenous Sami community in the Norwegian Arctic, ruling he must comply with an earlier order to cull 41 of his 116-strong herd. Sara, who had twice successfully challenged the order, argued he would be unable to sustain himself and his family with such a small number of reindeer and that the government’s herd reduction policy was an infringement of indigenous rights.

The ministry of agriculture and food has vigorously defended its policy, saying it is necessary to prevent Norway’s estimated 220,000 reindeer overgrazing the fragile tundra landscape of the country’s high north. The court said the order did not violate Sara’s rights, ruling in a majority decision that the reduction policy was “in the interests of the whole reindeer husbandry industry” and regulation was “reasonable and objectively justifiable”.(theguardian)…[+]