The European Court of Justice has ruled against the French government and in favor of hamsters, which the court says need greater protection and support in France, according to a new report from CNN.
"The commission complains that in 2008, France failed to take adequate measures to ensure strict protection of the European Hamster in Alsace, the only region where it is present," said the court, according to the news source.
"The court finds that the measures implemented by France in 2008 were not adequate to enable effective avoidance of deterioration or destruction of the breeding sites and resting places of the European Hamster," continued the court rulings.
The Great Alsatian Hamster, also known as cricetae cricetae, is endangered in the region of Alsace and has gathered support from many in the east of France, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Jean-Paul Burget is the French animal rights activist who began legal action in order to receive further protection for the hamster. Burget called the ruling "a victory for biodiversity in Europe" and organized a press conference and celebration after the court decision was announced, reports the WSJ.
The government of France, in its defense, has taken measures to help the population of the Great Hamster. It has been trying to raise crops such as alfalfa, which the hamsters like to eat, according to CNN. At the moment, there are still about 800 Great Alsatian Hamsters, but the court decided that this number was too small and that France could have done more to protect the golden rodents.
France will have to pay fines and face other legal implications following the ruling. The European Court of Justice is the highest legal system in Europe, and the case of the Great Hamsters has been in debate for at least the last three years.