Press Release  #TheKillingFields  2018
by in collaboration with the associations NALA 85480 and Forests from Farms 

HELP the animals of the #Oostvaardersplassen in Holland 

Please share this press release as much as you can all over the world! 
Thank you so much! 

Have you heard about the #OVP ( #Oostvaardersplassen) nature reserve in the Netherlands? It's an area that was reclaimed from the sea and which became a resting/nesting site for birds. It covers an area of about 22 square miles and is surrounded by a fence, so that it is cut off from other nature reserves. It has now become an experiment in "rewilding".

When the reserve was first created there was concern that it would become overgrown with trees which would make it a less suitable habitat for water birds.  So someone, without official authorisation 
to start with, released a number of cows and horses that had been bred to replace the extinct auroch (wild cattle) and the tarpan (wild horse). Their role was to keep the grass short and stop too much forest from being created. A while later red deer were also introduced.

Now let's stop for a moment and ask ourselves what is going to happen if you have a number of animals trapped in an enclosed area which doesn't have any of their natural predators. Did I heard someone say that there would be a population explosion? Quite right.

The population is now so large that it has exceeded the carrying capacity of the land: in plain English the plants can't grow fast enough to provide food for all the animals to survive the winter. In addition, because the area is so flat it provides very little shelter. So every winter the large grazers suffer the effects of a lack of food and a lack of shelter.  Now to you and I the solution probably seems quite obvious: give the poor animals some extra food so that they have a better chance of surviving the winter. However the government agency that manages this nature reserve refuses to do so under the pretext that they're wild animals and so this is just Nature's way. However, they want to reduce the suffering, so every winter they shoot the animals that they think are going to die anyway.  It's quite common for them to shoot 30 to 60% of the population. No I didn't make a mistake with those figures, that actually happens. It has been a scandal in the Netherlands for many years.

This policy of letting Nature run its course with a little help from men with guns to reduce the suffering seems to be based on the idea that the OVP is a natural area and should be subject to the harsh laws of Nature and natural selection. This, of course, is complete bullshit for a number of reasons.

  • the animals have been introduced to this area which is probably not their natural habitat: it has large areas of marsh and very little shelter.
  • the area is enclosed by a fence so the animals have no possibility to escape and search for food when it is scarce inside the fence.
  • the animals that are shot are selected by the shooters who think that they may not survive the winter. It's obvious that they can't know for certain, so they may shoot some who would survive and not shoot others who do die a lingering death from starvation and exposure. In addition, large areas of the park can be observed by the general public with their cameras, so I imagine that it's quite likely that fewer animals are shot in those areas.
  • the area can be visited by the public. The public don't like to see a lot of dead animals lying around so a large number of the corpses are taken away from the area for disposal. This takes a significant amount of biomass and nutrients out of the area every year, which means that the ground becomes less fertile and productive. This will eventually significantly reduce the carrying capacity of the area even more.
If these animals were in a zoo or a safari park or on a farm, the owners would be prosecuted for their mistreatment. Instead, the authorities have made it illegal for people to feed these animals and people who do so are threatened with prosecution!

Just recently (17 October 2018) the council members of the province of Flevoland have confirmed their decision to cull more than 1000 healthy deer and their babies, plus some stallions, even though professionals say it is possible in the long term to reduce the numbers by contraception. But they want to act fast and spend as little money as possible. 

Of course there is a lot of resistance about this massacre.

It's time for this situation to end and for a humane solution to be found. The Dutch authorities haven't listened to their own people, so now is the time to put them under international pressure. We'll keep you informed about the developments through this page.

Please help by spreading information about this situation far and wide and by signing these petitions.


“Géén afschot van Grote Grazers/No culing of healthy animals in the Oostvaardersplassen - Nationaal Park Nieuw Land”

Hekken weg in de Oostvaardersplassen, geef dieren de ruimte/Please take away the fences and give the animals some space

Laat de grote grazers in de Oostvaardersplassen niet verhongeren/Don't let them starve to death

Verbinding Oostvaardersplassen en andere natuurgebieden/Give the animals more space

Written in April 2018 and updated in October 2018

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