End the Reindeer Slaughter in Norway

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Sponsor: The Rainforest Site

Killing reindeer isn't the best or most humane way to control their population numbers!

Sign this petition to show your support for an end to the government sanctioned reindeer culling and the reintroduction of wolves to Norway!

Reindeer are being killed in mass numbers in Norway in an effort to control their growing population, but the reindeer boom isn't some sort of unexpected proliferation. It is directly related to the elimination of the reindeers' primary predator, the wolf. In 2016, Norway decided to eliminate 70 percent of its wolf population, thereby providing room for reindeer to grow out of hand [1]. The country destroyed 47 of its remaining 68 wolves to protect livestock farmers [2].

An estimated 2 million sheep a year are released unsupervised to graze in the wilds of Norway. As many as 1,500 of them are killed by wolves each year, and the farmers that owned those sheep compensated by the government [3]. Many more sheep die in accidents, falling off cliffs, drowning, or from illness, than from wolf attacks [3], but the wolves bear the brunt of the blame.

Reindeer numbers have increased, and a deadly chronic wasting disease (CWD) is spreading through wild herds. In response, the Norwegian government has marked no less than 6 percent of the total reindeer population for death, some 2,000 to 2,200 wild reindeer.

This is a misguided attempt to curb their degenerative prion disease from spreading to livestock [4]. Reindeer have inhabited lands in Norway for over 4,500 years, living in balance with their habitat and the predators that once naturally kept their numbers in check.

Norway faces a turning point in its conservancy efforts, as mismanagement and myopic policies continue to erode native species.

The best method for returning balance to the Norwegian ecosystem is to reintroduce wolves to the reindeer habitat. This is an uphill battle, as Norway's recent call for wolf hunters drew enough to outnumber the animals 723 to one [5]. A reported 11,571 hunters registered for a chance to kill 16 wolves [5].

But responsible wolf conservancy is possible. In Denali National Park & Preserve, wolves are a keystone species, as they are in Norway, and their behavior and movements are tracked diligently with the help of smart collars [6]. Researchers are not only able to see how the wolves are interacting with their own kind, but with other species, as well. Wolves are the solution to controlling reindeer!

Sign the petition and tell Norway's Minister of Agriculture and Food that this approach to reindeer population control is obscene and ineffectual, and should be halted immediately in favor of predator reintroduction.


[1] The Economist (2017 May 23), "Norway’s wolves are being hunted; its reindeer are going mad." Retrieved December 20, 2017, from https://www.economist.com/news/europe/21722470-two-wild-species-battle-sheep-farmers-and-prions-norways-wolves-are-being-hunted-its-reindeer-are

[2] Dan Zukowski (2016, September 19), "Norway to Kill 47 of Its Remaining 68 Wolves." Retrieved December 29, 2017, from https://www.ecowatch.com/norway-wolves-2009388798.html

[3] George Monbiot (2012, November 20), "Norway's plan to kill wolves explodes myth of environmental virtue." Retrieved December 29, 2017, from https://www.theguardian.com/environment/georgemonbiot/2012/nov/20/norway-predators-wolves

[4] Geo TV (2017, May 8) "Norway to kill 2,000 reindeer to eradicate disease." Retrieved December 20, 2017, from https://www.geo.tv/latest/141004-Norway-to-kill-2000-reindeer-to-eradicate-disease

[5] Emma Henderson (2015, December 1), "Norway wolf cull: Almost 12,000 sign up to kill half of country's remaining wolves." Retrieved December 29, 2017 from http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/almost-12000-norwegians-signed-up-to-kill-third-of-remaining-wolf-population-a6756116.html

[6] Caleb M. Bryce (2017), "SMART Collars Reveal the Hidden Lives of Wolves." Retrieved December 29, 2017, from https://www.nps.gov/articles/denali-smart-collars.htm

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The Petition:

To Norway's Minister of Agriculture and Food,

The reindeer slaughter Norway has committed to is a symptom of mismanagement and myopic conservancy policy, and the people of the world demand you halt this mass murder before further ecological damage is done.

The population boom reindeer are experiencing isn't some sort of unexpected proliferation. It is directly related to the elimination of their primary predator, the wolf. All but eradicated in 2016, it's natural that their numbers have grown out of hand.

Reindeer have inhabited lands in Norway for over 4,500 years, the most recent few centuries during which the indigenous Sami people have depended on them for food and fuel. Now linked to "prion disease," in league with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and other highly infectious conditions, your country is killing these animals en masse.

The reindeer would not pose such a pressing issue had your government not helped multiply their numbers, and put them at risk for deadly pathogens by dumping at least 90 percent of your infectious sewage sludge on land.

Killing the reindeer may shrink their numbers, but it won't slow the spread of a deadly and highly-contagious disease once it enters the human food system.

It's time to determine whether or not Norway's conservancy policies will support a healthier and more compassionate future, or the destruction of one.


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