Animal Welfare, Wild Reindeer | The Norwegian Food Safety Authority must be stopped from committing serious animal cruelty and irreversible damage

Has animal welfare been forgotten in the hurry to rehabilitate the Hardangervidda? asks Jenny Rolness.

The debate post expresses the writer’s opinions.


This is an open letter to the Norwegian Food Safety Authority, which should come to the fore and respond to criticism of the planned measures on the Hardangervidda. Everything indicates that this can go terribly wrong.


Hunters who have hunted on the Hardangervidda for many years, tell of a dramatic development. Calf weights are getting lower and lower, and calves are shot all the way down to six kilos. In addition, many animals have too little storage food. Disturbances cause the animals to clump together in increasingly smaller areas and not utilize the habitats.

As good as death sentence

Hard ejaculation of adult bucks has reduced the proportion from about 20 percent to less than five percent, and the plan is for it to go down to zero-three percent and be kept low in the years ahead, with the consequences it will have for excavated winter food, calving time and survival. This is almost a death sentence over the wild reindeer, which is already balancing on the edge of the cliff.

The Norwegian Food Safety Authority and the Norwegian Environment Agency will tackle this fragile stock with snowmobiles and helicopters this winter, after only one positive CWD test (chronic wasting disease or scrapie, journalist.anm. ) from 2020. The wild reindeer has been hunted since 10 August. The more they are hunted, the more they search together in flocks, and each disturbance thus triggers escape behavior for the entire flock.

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10 minutes of running gives 21 percent increased energy consumption for wild reindeer. Fat reserves are depleted and body weight is reduced. This can cause the sims to shed the calf or delay the calving time, and many animals can die of starvation and cold.

Animal tragedy in line with the tragedies in the barn

Many motherless calves are already left in the mountains after the extended hunt. An estimated 70-75 percent of the Sims have calves. It says a bit about the proportion of motherless calves when 600 simles and 150 calves have been shot. With motorized hunting of simler, it will worsen dramatically. This is a plan for an animal tragedy in line with the worst animal tragedies in the barn.

We must remind the Norwegian Food Safety Authority of the Animal Welfare Act. Animals must be treated well and protected against the risk of unnecessary stress and strain. It is forbidden to leave animals in a helpless state. In addition to violations of the Animal Welfare Act, motorized winter hunting will be a violation of the Biodiversity Act, the Wildlife Act’s provisions on humane hunting and a ban on the use of motorized means of transport during hunting, as well as the Motor Traffic Act’s ban on motor traffic in open country.

The Norwegian Food Safety Authority ignores the warnings

In addition, ordinary democratic processes are ignored. The Norwegian Food Safety Authority does not listen to local wild reindeer management and ignores the warnings from a number of teams, including wild reindeer committees, mayors, veterinarians, biologists and hunters. This is high-level politics. CWD is a stain on the Norwegian export industry and reputation. At the same time, many get their positions and grants through the CWD case, which drains Norway of enormous resources.

The biggest threat to wild reindeer is disturbance. The animals never get peace, they weaken and become more exposed to winter cold and disease loads. It is a thin pretext when the Norwegian Food Safety Authority justifies motorized winter hunting with “animal welfare”. There is no worse suffering for wild reindeer than the measures now being planned.

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It is not possible to clean up nature without exterminating all individuals. It also shows experiences from North America, where they have moved away from shooting as a measure against CWD. It was recently revealed that a soil sample from Nordfjella zone 2 shows CWD prion. This supports the theory that such prions can be found in several places, and may have been in the environment for a long time. There is a need for soil analyzes from all wild reindeer areas. Slaughtering of the wild reindeer population on the Hardangervidda can prove to be completely in vain.

The Norwegian Food Safety Authority must be stopped from committing serious animal cruelty and irreversible damage to biodiversity. They have proven completely unsuitable for animal welfare and are a disaster for wild animals. Their plans lack ethical and logical reflections and appear on the panic map. We can not have such management.

The only hope is that the political environment will put an end to the destruction of Europe’s largest wild reindeer tribe. Let the wild reindeer have peace in their habitats. Nature takes care of itself, and the animals know how to survive. They have managed it for tens of thousands of years.

Ruben M. Oddekalv, Norwegian Environmental Protection Association

Jenny Rolness, Animal Rights

Kåre Hallingstad, retired game manager and caretaker in several wild reindeer areas for 60 years

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