Gov't explores alternatives to culling horses, deer & cattle near Lelystad

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The number of horses, deer and cattle in the Oostvaardersplassen near Lelystad needs to be significantly reduced. About a third of the approximately 4,500 hoofed animals currently roaming the park need to disappear in order to prevent the park being stripped bare. The Flevoland government is looking for ways other than culling to deal with these animals, Trouw reports. 

The province will likely seek advice from experts, as most parties agree that the killing of healthy animals should be out of the question. State member Wout Jansen of 50+ thinks that a vaccination to limit reproduction should be considered. According to Jansen, Utrecht professor Tim Stout believes that the large herbivores can be vaccinated at a low cost, and in time this will decrease their population. "This has been tested in the U.S., you make the grazers barren without firing a shot." The PVV is for birth control, GroenLinks finds it infeasible. 

A majority in the provincial states of Flevoland supported a proposal by SGP and VVD to change the nature policy of the Oostvaardersplassen drastically. According to both parties, the area has already been stripped bare by the grazers. "Animal welfare is compromised and the area has become unattractive for visitors", said Jan der Reus (VVD), according to Trouw. Sjaak Simonse (SGP) added: "We need to find a new balance, so that we can again be proud of the Oostvaardersplassen." The proposal does not stipulate exactly how this new balance should be found. 

Only a minority of GroenLinks, PvdD and PvdA were against changing the nature policy for the park. "The Oostvaardersplassen is a young ecosystem which is still in development", Peter Pels (PvdA) argued. "Is forced livestock keeping so much better? Have we become estranged from nature? This area has a unique personality of international stature. Wiping out an entire ecosystem, that would be a historic blunder." But the three parties could not get enough support. 

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