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The name (or shame?) that can not be named: the "Deer murder" in National Park “Nieuw Land” Flevoland
photo of a crying deer (taken in de Loir-et-Cher department in France)
The epistle Oostvaardersplassen is beginning to look more and more like a Harry Potter story. Except for one minor difference. It is not the word Voldemort but the words "Deer murder" that can not be named. And of course we have murder and manslaughter, animal abuse and poisoning, lies, misleading people, physical violence, violations of the law, censorship .... But the activists of the Oostvaardersplassen will carry on just like Harry Potter and his friends.
We have known for a long time that no dialogue seems to be possible with the province of Flevoland about the deer. All our letters (including joint letters), notes, invitations to a conversation have been ignored and tweets from members about "deer murder" have been removed, because they no longer want to talk about it. But the icing on the cake was really the moment when we decided to present the petition No Killing of Large Grazers in the Oostvaardersplassen - National Park New Land during the meeting of the Flevoland sustainability committee of 13 February last.
After a short break we came home from a week of vacation and we found the videos made by the association Cynthia and Annemieke about the shooting of the red deer published on twitter. The very fact that the province had decided to shoot 1,800+ healthy and young (and even pregnant) animals (read our press release here) was appalling enough. But shooting in the herd? And without a silencer? Seeing animals panic and run around? Animals that are not killed straight away and lie suffering for a while? Animals that are left as dead body, while the others live around them? 900 deer killed in such a short time? What is happening here is simply disgusting.
So we thought that the time had come to present the petition that had now more than 4,100 signatures. But how? Sending by e-mail was the only option for us. We are too far away to come to the Netherlands especially for this. Luckily Paul Land from association Stamina was prepared to do it for us. And we are very grateful to him for that.
So on Monday, February 11, I called the province to ask how we could officially present the petition. It has been agreed that I would send the petition to them and that there would be a response from the Registrar about the details later. Well that is not what happened. It was not as easy as we thought. Because the province has its specific rules about petitions. Fortunately, Paul managed to convince them to still put it on the agenda. But later on he got anther phonecall. There was another problem yet. The petition did not fit into the agenda point "feeding".
Well, according to us, it does. Because the whole problem of the Oostvaardersplassen is about FEEDING! Why do animals starve and die in winter? Because there is not enough FOOD in the area. Why did they decide to move horses and shoot deer? Because there is not enough FOOD. How can you solve this problem other than killing animals? By FEEDING (and also contraception of course). It is all so simple and yet they are being so difficult about it. Why? Because they still believe in the story of “nature”, “ecological processes” and that these animals are “wild” and they think that these animals do not need care and can autonomously live in this area without FOOD?
So the petition IS about FOOD. Fortunately, Paul managed to talk around it and still had the courage to present the petition publicly. And even in A3 format! (Here is his speech in Dutch: )
The members of the committee and the deputy and his team, they all received the petition by e-mail and we sent it also to the King's Commissioner. The display in the meeting, the spasmodic , inflexible behaviour of the chairman, was ridiculous. What are they afraid of? Well, "deer murder" is not something you want to have on your conscience nor on your CV, especially not just before the provincial elections taking place on the 20th of March.
The petition remains online. Here is the link for those who haven’t signed yet:
Please keep signing and sharing. On the photos below you’ll find the text (in Dutch of course but it reflects the text on the petition page) that we presented to the president of the meeting.
We’ll use this petition to keep people informed about the developments in National Park “Nieuw Land” Flevoland Holland . They have big and ambitious plans with this park. So please don’t be fooled by their promotion stunts. And the words "deer murder"? Well, we’ll just keep on talking about it, whether they want it or not.
The dutch version of this text is published on facebook. You'll find it under the button Learn More.