Tractors line up on the A1 in the Netherlands Farmers protest on the A1, near the German border last month - Media Credit: ANP / Alamy Stock Photo

Dutch Farmers Protest Plans To Reduce Livestock Numbers And Emissions

Shots were fired at a recent protest as farmers took their tractors to the streets

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2 Minutes Read

Police in the Netherlands responded to Dutch farmers violently protesting government plans to slash nitrogen emissions.

Farmers rode their tractors through the province of Friesland, in the northern Netherlands. The large machines moved to force a barricade of police officers and vehicles out of the way. The “threatening” situation saw one tractor shot at by armed police.

The protest concluded with three arrests for attempted murder and no injuries.

What are Dutch farmers protesting about?

The Dutch government recently unveiled plans to drastically reduce nitrogen oxide emissions.

Deeming the environmental policy as an “unavoidable transition,” the government will impose stringent restrictions on the region’s agricultural sector. The move is part of the 2019 Climate Act to bring greenhouse gas emissions down by 49 percent by 2030.

Pulling in €94.5 billion in exports in 2019, the farming sector is a significant economic string in the Netherlands’ bow. But it is also a major contributor to its environmental impact.

Animal agriculture is responsible for up to 87 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions. This makes reducing livestock numbers imperative, particularly for farming-reliant nations such as the Netherlands. 

Farmers have previously attempted to reduce their operational emissions in light of the “nitrogen crisis” in the region. The government now wants to see more progress. It acknowledges the struggle ahead for agricultural businesses as they try to align with the new plan.

“Of course, it has enormous consequences. I understand that, and it is simply terrible,” Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Netherlands said in a statement. “And especially if they are businesses handed down in the family who want to proudly continue.”

The new reduction targets are ambitious. Many farms will need to produce up to 70 percent fewer emissions. However, figures of up to 95 percent are touted. 

The Dutch government has set aside €24.3 billion to finance the realization of the emissions targets.

How will farmers reduce their emissions?

Agricultural business owners are preparing to use less fertilizer and reduce livestock numbers. The latter could see smaller farms forced to close. 

Provincial governments have one year to finalize plans for meeting their localized reduction targets.

The Netherlands Agricultural and Horticultural Association (LTO) has called the targets “unrealistic.” It currently represents more than 35,000 farmers, many of which are calling for large-scale demonstrations in The Hague. Small protests have seen farmers driving their tractors in disruptive convoys.   

The Paris Agreement calls for emissions to be cut to prevent global warming increasing by more than 1.5°C. In simple terms, this means a 45 percent global reduction of said emissions by 2030. 

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The Author

Amy Buxton

Amy enjoys reporting on vegan news and sustainability initiatives. She has a degree in English literature and language and is raising a next-gen vegan daughter.

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Colin
Colin
1 month ago

What a biased news article

Plant Based News Admin
Editor
Plant Based News Admin
1 month ago
Reply to  Colin

What is biased about it?

joe aytch
joe aytch
1 month ago

Your organisation is in direct competition with the meat industry
the WEF and EU are playing your tune.
How you deny your report from your compromised position is THE PROBLEM

Chef
Chef
1 month ago

The promoters of green energy are so intellectually dishonest and abhorrent. These are responsible farmers who are just trying to bake a living and from my point of view very environmentally responsible. It is scary to see a bunch of politicians using environmental policy to scare the public and grab more power. I hope that those Dutch farmers teach all of those politicians a lesson that Rey will never forget.

Plant Based News Admin
Editor
Plant Based News Admin
1 month ago
Reply to  Chef

How are they dishonest and abhorrent?
There are many ways to make a living that don’t involve exploiting animals and destroying the environment.

BessieCo
BessieCo
1 month ago

How would you like your land/home (premium land) taken away and you are supposed to support yourself? I don’t want to eat bugs, crickets or fake meat. I ate soy based protein instead of meat in my 20’s and 30’s and got breast cancer. I thought I was eating organic healthy food. Be very careful what you wish for. I love farmers, they are the heartbeat of life.

Plant Based News Admin
Editor
Plant Based News Admin
1 month ago
Reply to  BessieCo

Soy is beneficial for breast cancer, not the other way around. DOI: 10.1007/s10654-019-00585-4
Plant farmers are very important for sure.

kissmykicks
kissmykicks
1 month ago

soy is not beneficial to women; there are dozens of studies showing that now. One random study you found does not negate this fact. If soy cures cancer, so does dark chocolate (eye roll). ALL farmers are important. Humans were born with canines for a reason. Because you choose to live a vegan life, does not give you a moral authority to choose that life for others. We all know vegetarians who had to switch back to eating meat because of diet deficiencies. Do what you want, but stay out of other people’s lives. Do you criticize lions, eagles, swordfish, and any other animal that eats meat to live?

Plant Based News Admin
Editor
Plant Based News Admin
30 days ago
Reply to  kissmykicks

Please cite these “dozens of studies” then? Your claim goes against scientific findings.
What does soy have to do with chocolate?

Plant farmers are important. Animal agriculture is using 77% of agricultural land while producing 18% of global calories. Sound efficient to you? Whilst taking the lives of billions of sentient beings?
We also all know meat-eaters that switched to plant-based diets to lower their cholesterol and blood pressure. Anecdotes. Thankfully we have the data to back it up.
https://doi.org/10.1186/s12916-021-01922-9
https://doi.org/10.1161/JAHA.119.012865

Please compare your canines to a lion and get back to us.
Lions do not have the ability to thrive off of plants, as humans do, do they? Nor are you a lion, an eagle, or a sword fish, and you do not require meat to live, as you clearly pointed out those other animals do.
What is actually your argument? Why choose to kill animals when you don’t need to?

kissmykicks
kissmykicks
1 month ago

geez that study opens with the line about soy benefits being inconclusive. Also, i didn’t see any evidence proving their claim of risk reduction in breast cancer that they could concretely associate with soy intake. Lastly, this study is from 2019. If soy conclusively reduces breast cancer, how come no one is talking about this?

Plant Based News Admin
Editor
Plant Based News Admin
30 days ago
Reply to  kissmykicks

Perhaps actually read past the first line next time? That is referring to the existing evidence, before their prospective study of 300,000 women. Not just a “random study”. If you look at the conclusion, “Therefore, women consuming soy foods at the amount recommended by the Dietary Guidelines may be at 3–15% reduced risk of breast cancer according to the result of the present dose–response meta-analysis.”

Just 1/2 a cup of tofu per day reduces risk of breast cancer by 30% compared to those who avoid soy, and even women who have previously battled breast cancer display 21% greater survival rates when consuming more soy. Even those with BRCA gene mutations, putting them at a higher risk of breast cancer, can benefit from increased soy consumption.
Additionally, researchers have found a 30% reduction in endometrial cancer risk in groups with highest soy consumption. DOI: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6604145 DOI: 10.1002/cncr.30615 DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.112.057760 DOI: 10.1093/jnci/djr475

Becca Mari
1 month ago

So, you’re a vegetarian and you want to make the rest of us be like you? That sure doesn’t sound like freedom.

Plant Based News Admin
Editor
Plant Based News Admin
30 days ago
Reply to  Becca Mari

Plant-based, not vegetarian, as vegetarians still harm cows and chickens.
What about the animal’s freedom?

Carola
Carola
1 month ago

Farmers will only reduce their emissions when meat-eating consumers reduce or eliminate the meat, dairy, and eggs on their plates! It’s economics, dummies! The farmers don’t care a one bit about the animals, they only care about marketing their products!

Farmers love their cows.jpg
joe aytch
joe aytch
1 month ago

I too see the bias in this report.
As falser as the Dutch Police story regarding the sixteen year old tractor driver..
In other words ..A LIE.

Plant Based News Admin
Editor
Plant Based News Admin
1 month ago
Reply to  joe aytch

Please point out what you believe to be a lie?

Linda Gourash
Linda Gourash
1 month ago

The author is ignorant. She knows no science and is incapable of independently evaluating claims of climate crisis.

Plant Based News Admin
Editor
Plant Based News Admin
1 month ago
Reply to  Linda Gourash

Could you provide the ‘science’ you feel the author missed then?

BessieCo
BessieCo
1 month ago

I agree. Very biased article (vegan). I love meat! She doesn’t mention they are taking the farmland and killing the animals. They want the farmland for Bill Gates and other billionaires. If we allow this to happen, we are all going to become slaves and starve to death. I stand with the Dutch Farmers and all farmers around the world.

Plant Based News Admin
Editor
Plant Based News Admin
1 month ago
Reply to  BessieCo

They are killing the animals as opposed to.. the farmers killing the animals?
We will actually have significantly less humans starving if the world was to shift to a plant-based food system, so there’s that. https://ourworldindata.org/land-use-diets

Chris
Chris
1 month ago

It’s rare that I support governments but, I do in this case. Although I think the motive of reducing greenhouse gases is erroneous, we simply must face the reality of animal agriculture destroying the environment and causing the 6th Great Extinction, which is well on its way. We are literally eating our way to extinction. There needs to be a radical shift in awareness leading to a new paradigm for human existence on this planet… or we simply won’t be here very much longer.

paul brabant
paul brabant
1 month ago

Very soon Soyent Green will be a reality

Tim
Tim
1 month ago

What a load of garbage. The emissions related to ALL of agriculture is 6%. The biggest source of pollution period is urban areas and industrial development. Largest source of excessive nitrogen use is suburban lawn care, golf courses and industrial and urban landscape uses.

Plant Based News Admin
Editor
Plant Based News Admin
1 month ago
Reply to  Tim

Thank you for your comment. The direct emissions from animal agriculture alone are 6%, which does not include the mass amounts of land use change, etc, which is estimated to bring it to *at least* 15%.

animist.79
animist.79
1 month ago

The mass amount of land use for animal feed is 30%. Your figures are correct for worldwide GHGs for animal agriculture at 15%, so how does the author of the article come up with 87%? Something of a deliberate exaggeration? The Dutch government seem to be targeting nitrous oxide 75% of which comes from arable. So why single out livestock. Makes no sense to me.

Plant Based News Admin
Editor
Plant Based News Admin
30 days ago
Reply to  animist.79

The mass amount of land use for animal agriculture in total is 77%.
Some recent studies put it as hi has 87% when including the opportunity cost of deforestation, ocean acidification, etc. You can read more here: https://plantbasednews.org/news/environment/animal-agriculture-responsible-for-87-of-greenhouse-gas-emissions/
Why single out animal ag when they are using 77% of land while producing only 18% of calories?

animist.79
animist.79
30 days ago

The IPCC for animal agriculture figures include The effects of deforestation, land use for supplementary feed and transport. They do not include packaging and distribution. If animal agriculture produced 87% of GHGs as your article claims, that would mean that GHGs from sources such as: Fossil fuel extraction, fossil fuel consumption ( power generation, all transport, (sea, air and land) the manufacturing demands of a consumer society, cement and other building materials, arable agriculture (rice 12% methane) the list goes on and on and on, are in the opinion of your article and a non peer reviewed website responsible for the remaining 13% WOW!

The actual area of arable land used to grow animal feed is 30%. Other land use by livestock needs to be better defined ie. Actual farmland, natural grassland or deforested. 13% of calories from land which is mostly marginal is 13% of extra food.

Let me be perfectly clear The 15% of GHGs from animal agriculture (as well as the 12% from arable) is TOTALLY UNACEPTABLE and totally avoidable using a combination traditional farming and science.

Thomas Lee Simpson
Thomas Lee Simpson
1 month ago

Amy is obviously a staunch supporter of the Paris Accords and the fraud of global warming/man-made Climate Change, etc. None of it has anything to do with Holland’s climate. It has everything to do with depopulating the planet by drastically reducing food production, and replacing fossil fuel, and nuclear energy with 14th-century low-energy alternatives. All in all, the globalists banksters in the City of London and Wall Street, together with their Leporellos, like the Dutch PM Rutte (a perfect name for what he is causing), are forcing industrialized Western nations to reverse the progress they have made feeding the world’s population. This will have the short-term effect of starving 2 billion people in the underdeveloped regions of Africa and Asia in which 2 billion food insecure humans already suffer from hunger and malnutrition. David Beasley, the UN’s World Food Program has gained the attention of the world by his efforts to save 400 million threatened Africans who face imminent starvation due to a lack of food. Cutting food production when starvation looms for 2 billion human beings is a crime that is deemed 100 times worse than Hitler!

Plant Based News Admin
Editor
Plant Based News Admin
1 month ago

Thanks for your comment Thomas. Who is cutting food production? Plant-based food production is far more efficient and will feed significantly more people while using significantly less land.

kissmykicks
kissmykicks
1 month ago

the bias is a shame, but to be expected. however, it seems the author is missing a major point: nitrogen reduction will reduce the amount of fertilizers farmers will be allowed to use, which means they will produce significantly less PLANT food. This will cause prices to skyrocket. Are we willing to watch people starve because they cannot afford food? Do you honestly think the “brilliant minds” with the Paris Accord will be eating less & switching to baked bugs with the rest of us? Don’t be fooled into thinking crickets are delicious. Climate change is a hoax to scare people into surrendering what freedoms we have left. How many elites have million dollar homes by the ocean? Please. We need responsible stewardship, not gaslighting politicians flying in private jets to “climate summits” to talk about the “dangers of carbon emissions”. Also, the author should be aware that the Dutch police shot at a 16 year old boy who was in that tractor, and he was leaving. They missed his head by centimeters. Vive la revolution!!

Plant Based News Admin
Editor
Plant Based News Admin
30 days ago
Reply to  kissmykicks

Nobody is telling you to eat crickets.
Did everyone forget you can eat plants?

Chet
Chet
28 days ago

What about the contribution to green house gasses from solar radiation management operations? Climate modification operations are causing most of the environmental damages! We need food, how stupid are these global asses!

Plant Based News Admin
Editor
Plant Based News Admin
27 days ago
Reply to  Chet

Thanks for your comment. You are correct, we need food, good thing we can thrive off of plants while having a significantly smaller environmental impact.

JoAnn
25 days ago

Wow — who would have thought so many dedicated animal eaters were reading plant-based news? I want to applaud how PBN responded here — allowing these contrary comments and pointing out the facts — what a rare approach in these days of rampant censorship by the Military-Industrial-Meat-Medical-Media Complex!

The Highwire (my favorite news show for 5 years) is how I heard about this story– and searched online to find more info — landing me here but — but they fell short of their usual standards — presenting a very biased view (probably because Del Bigtree is clearly addicted to eating dead animal flesh.)

Greenhouse gas emissions MUST be reduced from animal agriculture BEFORE we address the emissions from energy and transportation or else we will actually drive up temperatures in the short term — see Climate Healers Bathtub experiment if you want to understand this. Just because powerful entities have figured out how to profit now from climate change and are trying to sell the world on lab grown meat as THEIR solution — doesn’t mean that we don’t really need to phase out animal ag ASAP if we want to survive. …we just don’t need their lab grown meat or GMO’s

Plant Based News Admin
Editor
Plant Based News Admin
24 days ago
Reply to  JoAnn

Hi JoAnn, we really appreciate your comment.

JoAnn
8 days ago
Reply to  JoAnn

Yesterday — my daughter just launched the website for the upcoming Vegan Climate March and she is looking for people or groups to host Marches in their city. As I was thinking about who might help to get the word out about this and was scrolling through my old emails I saw the notifications for this thread and realized — this event is right on point to this whole conversation!

For anyone wondering why going vegan is probably the single most important individual action any one of us can take — if we care about a livable future for future generations, I invite you to explore this new website…and if you are ready to be part of the solution — then get involved and share this information with others.

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