Irish farmers protest plans to cull 200,000 cows, Elon Musk weighs in

Eric Barker, 21/07/2023

Irish Farmers have been turning out in droves to protest against the planned methane emissions reduction target, which could see 200,000 head culled. Photo: Twitter

IRISH farmers have been taking to the streets in recent weeks after reports surfaced of a Government plan to cull 200,000 cows to meet climate targets.

The controversial legislation to cut its emissions by 25 percent between the years of 2018 and 2030 was slated last year, with farmers raising concerns about potential culls. The Irish Cattle Breeding Federation last year told Beef Central it believed it could comply with the target through improved genetics.

However, cull concerns were recently ramped up, with a local media outlet finding a Government report that suggested culling 200,000 cows to meet the target.

Ireland’s Department of Agriculture has since watered the claims down saying that the paper was a “modelling document” and that the Government had not made any concrete plans.

It seems that has not been enough to quash concerns about the new legislation, with farmers recently taking to the cities with tractors to protest. Even Twitter’s owner Elon Musk weighed in.

“This really needs to stop. Killing some cows doesn’t matter for climate change,” he said in a Tweet.

Cattle industry has win with EU

Tractors have been rolling into cities in other parts of the Europe, with mass protests in The Netherlands and Belgium against herd reducing emissions legislation. A political party formed in The Netherlands off the back of the legislation and won many seats in the last election.

However, the livestock industry has managed to reverse some blunt legislation about livestock emissions.

The EU Commission had been seeking to have every farm with more than 150 Livestock Units included within the scope of its Industrial Emissions Directive, which forced countries to take drastic action on emissions. The negotiating position agreed by the EU Council had increased the threshold to 350 Livestock Units.

Irish Farmers’ Association president Tim Cullinan said including livestock farming within the IED was the completely wrong approach in the first place.

“Farms are already heavily regulated and they are not ‘industrial’ units. We have a pasture-based system in this country,” Mr Cullinan said.

“This was driven by ideology, not science, and it’s the ‘thin end of the wedge’ to force a costly licensing regime on farming.”


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  1. Sue, 16/08/2023

    Absolutely disgraceful to even be thinking of slaughtering cattle to save ’emissions’. What rubbish

  2. Richard Wilson, 11/08/2023

    This is madness, Ireland’s emissions are less than 0.1% of the world’s CO2, yet they continue to order more and more from China who emits the most. But of course Bill Gates and his mates says that we must do it, as he flies around in his squadron of jets and flies his horses 🐎 around the world in 747s. Wake up.

  3. Penelope Ward, 29/07/2023

    There is a kelp/seaweed that when added to cow feed reduced methane emissions by up to 90%. Govts must investigate this and STOP destroying our food sources! Netherlands,Canada & Ireland govts leading the WHO & WEF charge!

  4. Mike Healy, 24/07/2023

    Cows eat the long grass. They pee and they poo which fertilises and balances the soil so that the fresh grass grows much more and absorbs way more carbon through photosynthesis. The whole issue is further climate change lies and scamming.

  5. Paul Franks, 23/07/2023

    Isn’t MLA and thus Australia heading down a similar path with CN30?

    If they force in CN30 like they did LPA. Producers on marginal country that can not comply because it costs more will be forced to destock.

  6. D. Coleman, 23/07/2023

    I would rather be in a barn overnight with a cow than a running vehicle. Which would cause more emissions?Crazy world! Maybe some of these policy makers should spend a week on a farm.

  7. Cattle emissions no comparison to Aìr Travel reduce the nber òf air traffic

    • Mihael Avbelj, 05/09/2023

      Entire aviation produces 2,5-3 % of greenhouse emmissions. Cattle farming is way above that. And if destocking is done wisely, no farm or farmer would be put out of business. We in Europe are definitelly eating too much meat. I am not advocating for vegaterianism, but reducing intake of meat from 6 times a week to ,say, 4 would not only help with climate, but with health too.

  8. Arend Tibben, 22/07/2023

    To cull food supplies is unbelievable short sited

  9. Gordon Serone, 22/07/2023

    What absolute rubbish. The biggest natural methane producer is mangrove swamps which produce massive amounts of methane. Are we going level them and cover them with concrete. Oh let’s ban concrete a product whose production produces much more carbon than any here of cattle.

  10. Maureen Ware, 22/07/2023

    CSIRO in Australia published an article about a company named FutureFeed who sell Asparagopsis Commercially and supply to cattle producers which began in 2022 via a licencee which has great results. Narrow-minded thinking of the government.

  11. Chris Griffiths, 22/07/2023

    Ireland Failed,
    I Wonder Why, Oh Cow Poop, No, I Know Why. I Feel it in My DNA.

    Ireland Must Govern Itself Very Very Well. The Farmers Must Help with that.
    This does Include being Smart about Where the Food Comes From and How Best to Use the Land.

    The Irish Must have Quality Off Shore Fish Farming, Plus Quality Chicken Farming, Plus Midrise Multilevel Potatoe Cabbage Pumpkin Carrot, Tomatoe, lettuce, Fruit Farming.

    Plus Forestry, Plus Large 100 Hectare Low Rise Home Structures, Etc.
    Go Ireland Go

  12. George King, 22/07/2023

    This is exactly where Australia is heading if we continue down the insane carbon dioxide road.

  13. P R Brander, 22/07/2023

    Eu and other western countries pat themselves on the back about reducing emissions. All they are doing is transferring their manufacturing to so called under developed countries (China India) .Who are increasingly emissions using fossil fuels in a huge proportions. .Are the total world’s emissions decreasing?
    NEVER. so it’s time we faced reality, we are being conducted by our Government’s and media spin doctors.

  14. World seems to be going mad. A lot of mad human disease.

  15. World seems to be going mad.

  16. Peter F Dunn, 21/07/2023

    Herd culling as a strategy/policy to meet emission targets is the ultimate pursuit of zealous and misguided environmental ideology, in deliberate and/or ignorant isolation of basic human food needs and entitlements.

  17. George Mingin, 21/07/2023

    Absolute lunacy by the governments!!!
    No cow can be carbon net positive, it’s not physically possible. For every kilo of cow carbon emissions (methane, carbon dioxide etc) the cow has to consume a kilo of carbon from its food source. The carbon equation is ALWAYS net zero.
    Any “science “ that says otherwise is breaking the laws of physics!!!

  18. Bill cameron, 21/07/2023

    Livestock feeding on grass sequester carbon.
    Have a long hard look at the oil and transport industry ….shut a few oil wells down and then see the greenhouse gas drop.

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