THOUSANDS of Dutch farmers have been blocking supermarket distribution centres and burning hay bales in protest of government plans to reduce livestock numbers in the country.
Earlier this month, the Netherlands Government announced plans to halve the country’s nitrogen output by 2030 – with cattle-produced manure and fertiliser in the firing line. The government estimates this could cut livestock numbers by 30 percent.
The government has made plans to buy out some farmers and cancel the production rights attached to their land or to help finance their relocation. Deputy prime minister Carola Schouten said ending farm operations reduced nitrogen emissions.
“The future of farming is currently a much-discussed issue in many homes and not only because of nitrogen pollution,” Ms Schouten said.
“Some farmers want to quit, but many more want to continue. The government wants to make both these things possible. Money will be available for farmers who want to continue, and to innovate. Farmers who want to end their operations will also get help from the government.”
— Disprin STOP #FarmMurders (@WhiteDisprin) July 1, 2022
But the plan has not gone down well with the country’s farmers, who have been staging large and sometimes violent protests. Feed bags have been lit on fire and cows have been brought to protests – with farmers saying the laws will mean sending them to the abattoir.
Pictures of empty supermarket shelves have emerged on social media with the farmers blocking trucks from leaving food distribution centres.
Dutch supermarkets today. No farms, no food. Dutch farmers wins. pic.twitter.com/xcafsaHL1F
— MI NEWS (@SNMilitary) July 5, 2022
The fishing community have backed the farmers by blocking port activity with their boats and effectively disrupting ferry services.
The future of the plan is uncertain with the Euro News website saying Dutch courts have ordered the Dutch government to address the nitrogen problem. The website says high-intensity farming of cows, pigs and other animals has made the Netherlands Europe’s leading emitter of nitrogen.