A brown bear named M90 was killed by forestry police in Trentino, Italy, following orders from the president of the mountainous northern Italian province, despite animal rights activists claiming he was not dangerous. After M90 was reported to have followed people on three occasions, most recently along a mountain path above the town of Ortisé in the Val di Sole, the authorities deemed him to be a “danger to public security,” but he had not attacked any human.  The bear was traced to a forested area in the lower Val di Sole and he was shot on 6th February 2024. 

There is an ongoing legal battle between the president of Trentino, Maurizio Fugatti, and animal rights groups over how to deal with bears that are deemed dangerous. After the killing of M90, activists protested in the provincial capital, Trento, arguing that the speed at which the order and execution occurred did not give them time to seek a reprieve.

Lucia Coppola, a provincial councilor for the Green party, said to the Guardian, “It was a brutal act. The animal had never caused any damage, it should not have been considered dangerous.” Oipa, an animal rights group, said, “We hoped until the end for a change of heart … but President Fugatti was deaf to the request of public opinion. M90 was a young bear guilty of having been spotted a few times near inhabited areas.” 

The irony is that bears were brought to Trentino from Slovenia in the early 2000s as the brown bear population was declining, and now the 100 bears in the province are shot dead for just doing what bears do. It goes to show that sometimes conservation initiatives that are not done under an animal rights framework may seem more focused on treating wild animals as desirable “landscape” features than as sentient beings with their right to live in nature.

Jordi Casamitjana
“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.