Starvation of large grazing animals in the Natura 2000 area ‘Oostvaardersplassen’
Question for written answer P-001457-18
to the Commission
Annie Schreijer-Pierik (PPE)
In December 2017 and January and February 2018, at least 1 755 large grazing animals died a cruel death from starvation in the Oostvaardersplassen.
The animals concerned were both red deer and introduced cattle and Konik horses. Due to inadequate wildlife management and an excessively large population, not only was untold animal suffering due to persistent starvation caused in the fenced-in Natura 2000 area but the agreed conservation objectives under the management plan were jeopardised because red deer entered bogs and because habitats were destroyed by large hungry grazing animals. This has seriously damaged the conservation status of vulnerable marshland birds, other target species and protected habitats in the area, according to observers.
1. What information does the Commission have about the adverse impact of the current policy concerning large grazing animals on the conservation goals for the Oostvaardersplassen Natura 2000 area?
2. Will the Commission intervene as a matter of urgency with a view to preventing significant adverse impacts on the conservation status of target species and habitats caused by large grazing animals that are starving?
3. Does the Commission consider large-scale starvation of large grazing animals in this Natura 2000 area to be in accordance with the EU’s animal welfare and nature management principles, or does the Commission agree that it is necessary to reduce the populations by means of management, removal or relocation and that, until that has been done, additional feed should be distributed?