Who? Geert Groot Bruinderink, ecologist
What? Guest employee at Alterra since his retirement
Why? ‘Came out’ as a hunter in the Volkskrant newspaper
An ecologist who’s a confirmed huntsman. Why’s that?
‘I come from a hunting family and I was brought up on hunting. I’d always hunted but I stopped in 1979. I’ve always worked in jobs where agriculture, nature conservation and hunting meet, so you have to be neutral then. If you hunt yourself, appearances are against you. Now I’m retired, I can do it again.’
You are tough on hunters. You say hunting has no purpose, it’s purely for enjoyment. What do you mean?
‘The policy on hunting in the Netherlands is based on the interests of society. But the truth is that we don’t know exactly what effect hunting has. Does hunting reduce damage on farms? Hunting just shifts the problem from one farmer to another. Are there fewer collisions thanks to hunting? It has never been properly investigated.’
Had many angry comments?
‘No, I’ve only had positive responses. I realize it’s confrontational and harsh. But I tell everyone to read the story carefully and see what they can take away from it. It might be provocative but I’m also mild. We do need hunting. It is an honest account and I haven’t been unnecessarily hurtful. I’m happy to engage in the debate.