Press release by  ANTISPECIESISM.com in collaboration with the associations NALA 85480 and Forests from Farms 


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#TheKillingFields continue: 1830 healthy deer to be culled in the Oostvaardersplassen, the  Netherlands 

The Reset in the #Oostvaardersplassen National Park “Nieuw Land” has started with at least 134 healthy animals already shot and with 1700 still to go. Official images of the killing can be seen under this link: https://nos.nl/artikel/2262868-regen-bemoeilijkt-hertenjacht-oostvaardersplassen-niet-20-maar-3-gedood.html

Reset: what an innocuous word. It conjures up images of putting things back to normal, making them work properly again at the flick of a switch or the press of a button. It's always seen as a positive action: yet in the case of the Oostvaardersplassen in the Netherlands nothing could be further from the truth. In the Oostvaardersplassen the switch that will be flicked is likely to turn on night vision goggles. And instead of a button being pressed, a trigger will be pulled to send a bullet to end the life of a healthy animal.
In case you're new to the subject, please let me give you a brief overview of the situation. For many years there have been complaints about the mismanagement of the OVP nature reserve that resulted in thousands of animal dying every winter. The underlying cause was too many horses, cattle and deer in too small an area. Initially for dogmatic, ideological reasons the authorities didn't act to stop the animals starving to death. This was unacceptable to many members of the public who, quite rightly, don't like to see animals suffering. People protested and some people gave food to the animals. So the authorities swept into action: they arrested people for feeding the animals. But they did have a solution for preventing animals starving to death: they shot the ones who were considered to be too ill, too weak or too thin to survive the winter.
As you can imagine, this did nothing to stop the public protesting. So in 2018 the local politicians stepped in and demanded that something should be done. They asked for solutions to be looked at and a report prepared. However, it appears that they took two decisions that ultimately prevented a satisfactory solution being found: they wanted a definitive solution to this problem that took many years to build up in only one year and they only wanted to be informed about the result of the report and not to be able to decide on a course of action based on the report.
To cut a long story short: because of the requirement to find a solution straight away the more animal friendly options like contraception or moving animals out of the park were not considered to be practical. Therefore the solution envisaged was a "reset": drastically reduce the population, especially of the deer, by shooting them before the winter. It's perhaps hard to believe but it's true that someone somewhere thought that the best way to stop protests about animals being shot because they were too ill, too weak or too thin to survive the winter, was to shoot over eighteen hundred of them while they were healthy and to sell most of the bodies for meat.

Is it any surprise that the public were unhappy with this policy? So protests were made and politicians gave fine speeches and told everyone that they would act. But when push came to shove, during the final meeting to discuss this policy on October 17 2018 it was voted through. Some court cases were started in order to prevent the killing, but they all failed and so the shooting has begun. In the month of December about 130 healthy deer have been shot. This just serves to show the futility and impracticality of the "reset": it was based on the assumption that they could kill twenty or more deer every day. The number of shooters has been increased from 4 to 16. This shows just how far removed from reality and amateuristic the authorities are: from the very beginning their "solution" was criticised for not only being unnecessarily cruel but also impractical. How are they going to ensure that each animal that is killed is shot without suffering? How are they going to respect family groups?

Obviously something needs to be done to find a practical, animal-friendly solution to this problem. But the authorities won't act without some pressure and without being made aware of the public outcry.

There is a petition that you can still sign to show your disapproval. Please do so and share it amongst your family and friends. It might still help to save some of the deer.
This news release is also published in dutch and in french on facebook and in german , spanish and italian on this site.