The judgement that toppled Luxembourg's hunting law

By Camille FratiLex KlerenMisch Pautsch Switch to French for original article

On July 10, 2007, the European Court of Human Rights once and for all swept away the old hunting law of 1885. It was a coup de force by Catherine Schneider, a Luxembourg woman who simply refused to allow hunting on her land.

Behind the rulings of the international courts often lie the stories of ordinary people, people who had no political agenda but simply had the courage and tenacity to oppose a rule that seemed unjust or wrong to them. This is the case of the Schneider judgment pronounced by the European Court of Human Rights, paragon of the respect of fundamental rights as set out in the European Convention on Human Rights.

We have to go back to 1999 to understand the context of this judgment, which strengthened the case law of this court on hunting. That year, Catherine Schneider was 25 years old and received two parcels of land from a family member, one of which was 130 ares in the Troisvierges forest, i.e. a square of 130 m on each side. "It's a plot in the middle of the forest, there are only fir trees", she says. However, like thousands of others in the Grand Duchy, this plot of land is part of a hunting lot, which clashed with the young woman's already strong convictions. "I stopped eating meat at the age of 12 after seeing a pig being killed in a restaurant." But her fight is not against those who enjoy a good steak. "You can eat meat and be kind to animals. You don't have to be vegan to love and respect animals. But when I pass a sign that says there is a hunt going on, I feel like throwing up. I couldn't live with the knowledge that animals could be killed on my property."

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