News - June 24, 2010


The animals are grazing serenely a hundred metres away. For the time being, I can take my mind off the discussion which will rear up again this winter: to supplement feed the animals or not.

Proponents of wild and primitive nature argue that nature should be allowed to take its own course, even during emergencies, and the death of animals is part and parcel of it all.
On the other hand, there are people who stand up for the animal as an individual and cannot bear the sight of hundreds of perishing beasts.
I wonder which nature we are concerned with here. The original nature of the Oostvaardersplassen comprised sea grasses, sea weeds and mussels. We don't have to go too far back for that; 1932 is far enough, when the closure of the Zuiderzee became a reality.

But all right, do let's reflect on the landscape which existed after the Ice Age, when open or closed forests (opinions vary too as to these) covered our country. The recently published book Nature as never before describes a landscape populated by countless mega herbivores and equally impressive carnivores which regulated the number of grazers. The current band of 'big grazers' was small in comparison.
As for the human race, it has been present in Europe since the last ice age, more than 35 thousand years ago, and possibility even before that. Using hatchets, spears and traps, human beings hunted the animals. Why then did humans beat such a forced retreat from our 'almost natural landscapes'? If we want to justify the line of 'thinking wild', the choice isn't that difficult: no feeding of animals, no crying over their deaths, but go hunting and then feast on their meat.