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Sheep farmers gun for wolves

Wolves may soon lose their status as a protected animal, if angry sheep farmers have their way.

Several hundred farmers held a noisy demonstration in front of parliament on Friday, to express support for moves to change the government policy towards wolves.

"Wolves have no business in Switzerland," Roberto Schmidt told the demonstrators. "Our fathers and grandfathers had good reasons to wipe them out," added the centre-right member of the House of Representatives.

Wolves have killed at least 200 animals in 2009, said the head of the Swiss Sheep Breeders Association.

The House is soon to discuss several parliamentary motions aimed at changing the wolf's status. The government has already said it is ready to downgrade the animal from "strictly protected" to "protected".

The farmers brought their traditional bells with them in order to attract more attention. They believe city dwellers usually hear only the point of view of animal protection organisations.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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