In the 1960s, the Netherlands created a nature park from reclaimed sea/swamp land about 30 square miles in size called the Oostvaardersplassen. The official management plan is based on the vision of Frans Vera to duplicate the pre-human European ecosystem.
Rangers brought in red deer, wild horses, and an old Gaulish breed of cattle known as Heck. Fans call this park the Dutch Serengetti. But there's a problem: the animals starve in the winter.
Pictures of skeleton-like horses, deer and cattle have pulled at the heartstrings of animal lovers who bring in hay and dump it over the fence at night. It's a criminal offense, but that still does not eliminate the animal activists.
The whole arrangement has pitted the park rangers, who stoically explain nature's cull mechanism, against the animal welfare activists, who can't stand to see animals starve. The whole thing begs the question: what is nature?
Remember, this whole park was manmade by draining the ocean. Were it not for interventive human manipulation, the park would not and could not exist. And unlike nature, the park has no predators. They missed stocking it with wolves and other predators that would take down the weak animals. I don't know why; perhaps because someone on the board didn't want violence occurring.
This entire brouhaha is symptomatic of sincere hearts acting in myopic ways. I certainly don't like to see animals starve; better to have them killed by predators before they starve. But you can't pick pieces and assume you have nature. Nothing about our farm is natural; it's contrived as an expression of my mind and work. We will all be much wiser when we realize that no truly non-human ecosystem exists. For sure, some of the prettiest systems are human-made--think terraces in Austria, China and Peru. Even the oceans have been fished since humans existed.
I think this 30-square mile area would be much better used if it were actually farmed according to nature's principles, rather than to cherry pick some components of a wild system and produce a lot of suffering. In 60 years, I don't think I've ever had a farm animal starve.
Is that natural?