The provincial government of Schleswig-Holstein recently decided to only pay compensation for lifestock losses if proper herd protection measures where in place. The decision obliges farmers with more than 500 sheep to put up herd protection fences. The state will completely finance the installation of 1,2m high electrical fences for large-scale farms. With this step, the government wants to strengthen the protective measures against the wolf and motivate farmers to cooperate in this plan.
Obligation to install electrical fences for large sheep farms
The decicion of the provincial government of Schleswig-Holstein follows ongoing protests of concerned sheep farmers. In particular, in the districts of Dithmarschen, Pinneberg, Steinburg and Segeberg several wolf attacks on livestock happend in the last months. The government recently confirmed the presence of another wolf in the province. The provices’s agricultural minister, Jan Philipp Albrecht, announced that his ministry will finance permanent protective fences for farms with more than 500 sheep. This decision to fully compensate livestock protection and damages goes in line with a decision by the EU last year. Sheep farmers in the mentioned districts have to protect their sheep with 1,20m high electrical fences, preferable in blue. Farmers can informally apply for the funding of these fences at the ministry after buying them.
Only farmers having the according prevention measures will get compensation for sheep killed by a wolf. The money comes from the budget allocated for the wolf management. However, the government said that the implementation of this recent decision might take a while. The preparations could take weeks and up to months. Unfortunately, the coastal areas and dykes of the province, where sheep are used to secure the protection of the coast, will be excluded from the prevention area.
Important step for extensive herd protection
This decision of the provincial government of Schleswig-Holstein is an important step to push the implementation of livestock protection measures. However, at this moment it only demands the installation of electrical fences on farms with more than 500 sheep. These large-scale farms own about 60% of the sheep in the districts of Dithmarschen, Pinneberg, Steinburg and Segeberg. Herd protection fences are currently not 100% funded for smaller farms. So, including smaller farms in the province’s funding scheme would be an important and necessary next step to guarantee extensive livestock protection. Furthermore, the use of herding and guarding dogs as well as shepherds also proves to significantly decrease attacks on livestock. Countries, like Switzerland and the Netherlands, already decidet to financially support the use of guarding dogs.