A German man opposed to hunting on ethical grounds but who–under German law–was forced to allow hunting on his land, took his case to the European Court of Human Rights…and won.

From this story on the German news site Deutsche Welle:
Gunter Herrmann lives in Stutensee and owns two plots of land in Rhineland-Palatinate that are smaller than 75 hectares. As a result, under the Federal Hunting Law, he is automatically a member of the Langsur hunting association and has to tolerate hunting on his premises. However, Herrmann is opposed to hunting on ethical grounds. So he filed a request with the hunting authority to terminate his membership of the association.

It was refused. So he took his case to court, arguing that the obligation to tolerate hunting violated his right to the peaceful enjoyment of his possessions. The case reached the European Court of Human Rights in February 2007.

According to the story, judges ruled that an obligation to tolerate hunting on property you own imposed a “disproportionate burden” on landowners opposed to hunting on ethical grounds.

It’s a pretty fascinating case that intersects both hunting laws and private property rights. Maybe those of you familiar with German hunting laws could fill us in, but I had no idea that landowners in Germany were compelled to allow hunting on their property.

What do you think of the ruling? Does your belief in an individual’s private property rights trump the collective hunting rights of the people, or does such a ruling further weaken the underpinnings of a nation’s hunting culture? Sticky wicket, eh?