“Humane Theriocides”: Traces of Compassion for Animals in the Norwegian Legal Discourse on Illegal Bear and Wolf Killings

Martine S.B. Lie


Wolves and brown bears are critically endangered in Norway. Their population is approximately 100 and 150 individuals, respectively, and is kept at these low numbers through licensed hunts. These animals are also vulnerable to illegal theriocides (killings of animals by humans), which poses a considerable threat to the species’ survival. The theriocides also harm individual animal victims and impinge on their intrinsic value. This article assesses whether a consideration of harm to the individual animals is part of the Norwegian courts’ problem definition and discourse order regarding such illegal hunts by developing and conducting a “critical green victimological discourse analysis” of verdicts. Moreover, the courts’ portrayals of the victims are assessed—by asking the question: do they acknowledge them as such, or continue the speciesist ideology of the Anthropocene, seeing animals mainly as commodities and components of nature?

Paraules clau

Illegal hunts; endangered species; animal harm; species justice; large predators; legal discourse; critical discourse analysis

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.17345/rcda3085

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