Eight people who used social media platforms to protest about the decision not to feed starving animals in the Oostvaardersplassen nature reserve have been fined up to €600 each for making threats and slander.
The eight had ‘directed their aggression at people doing a public job’, the public prosecution department said.
Three people were also fined for destroying a lock on a gate, resisting arrest and kicking a police officer. The fines have been levied in a fast-track legal case without the involvement of the courts.
A number of other cases still have to be heard and one person refused to settle out of court and will appear before magistrates.
Meanwhile, Flevoland’s provincial authority said on Thursday that it will continue to feed the horses, cattle and deer on the reserve until May 5, when natural foodstocks should begin to replenish.
‘The grass is growing quickly and the animals are making less use of the hay, but we will phase out the extra feed gradually,’ the province said.
Over the Easter weekend, five people were arrested during efforts to feed the animals. Although the forestry commission initially refused to supply hay to the reserve, it later changed its mind and began emergency feeding.
More than half the 5,200 deer, ponies and cattle living on reserve near Almere have died this winter – most of which were shot by forestry commission staff.
Most were shot because they were starving – over population has decimated plant growth and many animals had not been able to put on sufficient fat reserves for winter, the forestry commission says.