The Netherlands Proposes Culling Livestock by 1/3 to Curb Pollution

Dutch politicians considered forcing hundreds of farmers to cut livestock numbers in an effort to reduce ammonia pollution. 

The Guardian reported that the finance and agriculture ministry civil servants proposed cutting livestock numbers by 30%. The proposals could mean forcing farmers to put their emissions rights for sale, or selling their land to the state.

Agriculture ministry spokesperson Rudi Buis said that the situation should be addressed urgently as the small country houses a lot of inhabitants, industry, transportation, agriculture, and one of Europe’s largest livestock production. 

Caretaker agriculture minister Carola Schouten said during parliamentary questioning on Tuesday, September 7, that selling emissions rights or land was the last resort among considered measures. 

Schouten added, “No, I don’t want to get rid of the farmers. I do think that in certain locations, companies cannot carry on and so we must ensure that we have the rules that are necessary.”

Livestock manure mixed with urine releases ammonia and can damage natural habitats once it contaminates lakes and streams. 


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