Calling in the Big Guns German Farmers Want Army to Help Combat Wild Boars

Desperate circumstances require desperate measures, say German farmers who are demanding that the army be brought in to help kill the growing number of wild boars damaging their crops. But the request is likely to be rejected.

The next mission for the German army?
dpa

The next mission for the German army?


Farmers and wine growers in Germany have called for the army to be brought in to combat marauding wild boar, which they say are damaging their crops and hampering their harvests.

"The problem can no longer be solved with normal methods," the Farmers' and Winegrowers Federation for the southern Rhineland-Palatinate region of western Germany said in a statement. It said its president, Norbert Schindler, had sent a letter to the region's Environment Ministry demanding that the government force all land owners to permit hunting on their property and consider bringing in the German army, the Bundeswehr, which is currently busy fighting in Afghanistan, to help deal with the issue.

Part of the problem, Schindler said, is that the boars in their vigorous foraging for food are throwing up mounds of earth that are damaging the blades of combine harvesters. "Drastic damage from wild boar is causing delays to the harvest," Schindler said in a statement on his federation's website.

Military Challenge

The demand has been dismissed by the nation's hunters. "We don't want to wage war on wild animals," said Kurt Alexander Michael, the president of the Rhineland-Palatinate hunting association. "Does this mean Tornado fighter jets or Leopard tanks should be deployed?"

The request for troops seems bound to be rejected. The German army is already stretched to the limit with its foreign missions and the country's constitution forbids troops from being used on German soil.

The population of wild boar is soaring across Europe as a result of global warming and the increased cultivation of maize and rapeseed for biofuel, which attract the animals. Hunters kill hundreds of thousands a year. But their numbers keep increasing.

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