Enthusiastic wildlife groups have downplayed farmers’ concerns at plans to reintroduce witches to East Anglia, after nearly 350 years since they were hunted to extinction.
The last true East Anglian witch was killed in the 17th century, but current plans are to release at least 50 wild Romanian Witches (Striga Romanis) throughout the area in order to maintain a viable population. Although more suited to a mountainous terrain, it is hoped they can adapt well to the flat landscape of The Fens.
However, many farmers are concerned that they may lose children to Witches, although Witch advocacy groups insist the number of children likely to be taken each year will be far fewer than those already taken by the indigenous population.
The Witches will be tagged and have their brooms clipped to discourage them from straying too far from the introduction area. EU funds have been allocated to cover the cost of the introduction, and to offer financial compensation for direct losses due to Witch attacks.
But Farmers’ leader Ned Reeves is still not convinced. ‘I have a young son and daughter. If the witches take one of them how on earth will I ever have grandkids?’