Despite serious objections, the “wolf fence” was introduced to protect cattle in Friesland
The construction of a fence to protect cattle from wolves has started in Friesland. Former Queen’s Commissioner and VVD member Hans Wiegel dug the first ceremonial heap into the ground near Boijl, on the border between Friesland and Drenthe. At the same time, many experts have raised concerns about the initiative, NOS reported.
One of the initiators was a sheep farmer Jehan Bouma. Along with three other breeders, he pleaded for the wolf fence, which should be placed along the entire 150 kilometer long external border between Friesland and Drenthe. Bouma and his partners raised 30,000 euros for the first piece of the fence thanks to crowdfunding.
It is planned to have a height of 1.5 meters, with an outward slope at the top. At the level of roads and other passages, a tunnel effect is created by passing the fence over about fifty meters along both sides of the road. The idea is that the wolves find it too dangerous to attempt to pass.
The province of Friesland has also denounced the plan. “A fence around Friesland is both environmentally friendly and practically undesirable. Think of the fragmentation of nature reserves or the crossing of private lands. But we see the concerns of the ranchers. That is why we are going to look with the sector for ways to deal with the wolf, ”said Commissioner Klaas Fokkinga.
Experts in the field of European law criticized the initiative. “The wolf is a protected animal, and according to the European Habitats Directive, you are not allowed to hunt or disturb it,” says Glenn Lelieveld of the animal welfare organization Mammal Society.
“I understand the fears of the sheep farmers. But the wolf is there. It is much more effective in securing a sheep pasture than an entire province.”
In provinces where wolves are regularly seen, breeders receive a subsidy for the purchase of wolf-resistant power grids. According to the initiators of the project, setting up these gates around each pasture was too time-consuming and laborious.