Monday 17 January 2022

Dutch MEP supports EU effort to reduce protection for wolves

Photo: Depositphotos.com

Dutch MEP Bert-Jan Ruissen has come out in support of a resolution by the European parliament’s agricultural committee calling for measures to control wolves by ‘scaling down’ their protected status’, the AD reports.

Ruissen, a member of the fundamentalist Protestant party SGP, said wolves, which now number over 20,000 in Europe, are causing problems for sheep farms and agriculture in some regions. ‘It’s ok to want to protect a species but why would they need to be protected in all member states? In the Netherlands we simply don’t have the space, perhaps only for a few wolves in the Veluwe national park,’ he told the paper.

The MEP is not advocating the wolves’ protected status be withdrawn but wants it ‘scaled down’ allowing them to be shot in areas where they do a lot of damage.

According to Ruissen wolves are becoming less shy, citing a case of a wolf attacking a shepherd and his flock in Elspeet lat last year and attacks on mouflon sheep in the Veluwe area.

However, wolves were responsible for just 0.2% of the damage to fauna in the Netherlands in 2020, according to research by conservationists.

Figures from BIJ12, which advises provincial governments about the effect of wolves, show there were just nine instances of wolves attacking livestock between February and May of that year.

Ruissen expects a majority of the MEPs on the committee to vote for the resolution on Monday but said to convince the committee for the environment would be a harder nut to crack. Fellow MEP Anja Hazekamp (PvdD) called the resolution ‘misguided’.

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