Dutch Police killed a wolf on Sunday afternoon for attacking a rancher who, according to his version of events, was limited to defending his flock of sheep on a farm on the outskirts of Wapse, a village with less than 700 inhabitants under the administration of the municipality of Westerveld, located in the province of Drenthe. The rancher ended up being treated at the hospital for minor injuries and the animal escaped. Two hours later, the wolf’s corpse was found a few meters from the scene under some solar panels.
The spokesman for Faunabescherming, a local environmental group that watches over the protection of wild animals, announced Sunday night that the organization would bring charges against the police and the mayor of Westerveld, Rikus Jager, who asked the officers to fire. According to Faunabescherming’s version, the farmer attacked the animal with a shovel before it turned on him. The group also assured that the farmer was breaking animal welfare laws because he did not have a “wolf-resistant” fence and, therefore, his sheep were not properly protected.
Jager acknowledged having ordered the end of the wolf “after careful consideration” and justified his decision, based on an emergency order: “The attack was very violent. Also, the wolf smelled human blood.. I think it would have become dangerous if we had released the wolf again.” Wolves rarely attack humans, but the mayor, a member of the CDA Christian Democrats, explained that “apparently they do under certain circumstances.”
The incident has led to a parliamentary debate a few hours after the government coalition led by Prime Minister Mark Rutte broke up. There have been many deputies who have wanted to clarify the rights that farmers have to protect their flocks, also in the event that the sheep are being attacked by a protected wild wolf.
In this sense, the Party for the Animals (PvdD, for its acronym in Dutch) has presented a battery of questions in the Chamber to the outgoing Minister of Nature and Hydrogen Policy, Christianne van derWal. The animal group wanted to know the official version of the incident and if the danger was serious enough to have to kill the wolf.
But the party that has invested the most in obtaining electoral revenue from the incident has been the Peasant-Citizen Movement (BoerBurgerBeweging, BBB for its acronym) which is headed by Caroline van der Plas. The formation of a right-wing populist cut, which led a loud irruption in Parliament Following the March 2021 legislative elections, it has emerged as the voice of farmers and rural communities in national politics and continues to rise in the polls.
“I am going to ask that the debate that I had already requested be brought forward as soon as possible, because something must be done about it,” stressed Van der Plas, who recalled that He has been warning for some time that this scenario could occur. The founder of the party, a firm defender of agriculture, already has her sights set on the upcoming elections in November.