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Animal movements have been restricted on more than 2,000 Dutch dairy farms because of suspected fraud, according to the Dutch Department of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality.
The move follows investigations by the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority [NVWA] and the Netherlands Enterprise Agency [RVO.nl].
According to the Dutch Minister for Agriculture, Carola Schouten, a significant number of farmers registered calves as multiple births to different cows in an attempt to make their herds look smaller.
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The reason for the alleged fraud is reportedly to circumvent environmental plans the Dutch Government wants to implement.
Under the plans, a cow who has given birth must be registered as one livestock unit, and one who hasn’t counts as half a livestock unit.
By attributing multiple births to a cow, the overall size of the herd will appear smaller on paper.
The authories noticed a jump in the number of multiple births being registered in January. Normal figures show three-five percent of multiple births – this year more than 2,000 farmers reported more than 10 percent or higher incidences of multiple births.
Now movement is restricted, i.e, the animals are unable to be moved off the premises.
Carola Schouten added: “Animals that cannot be identified with reasonable certainty must be declared unfit for human consumption.”
Any farmers found guilty will have their CAP payments penalized – and may face criminal investigation.