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Killing cows

Shock proposal: to reduce pollution, kill one in three cows

The plan provides for compensation of 25 million euros for farmers, who however protest

Too many cows equals too much manure. And too much pollution. It is the situation in Holland for which to solve the problem proposes a shocking solution: to cull a third of the cow farms to save the environment.

Holland shock: cows must be culled to reduce pollution

Killing cows (but also pigs and chickens) to save the environment: this sounds like an absolute contradiction. Yet this is what the Dutch government wants to do, in recent days the subject of violent criticism and protests by farmers.

The uproar is triggered by the “Memorandum for rural areas” and the goal of halving nitrogen and ammonia pollution by 2030:

“The production of nitrogen and ammonia, in addition to other parameters, will have to be reduced from -12% to -70% according to the area, and the most affected are precisely the agricultural ones”.

Manure, nitrogen and ammonia

But what do nitrogen and ammonia have to do with cows? It is easy to say: Holland is the European country with the highest density of livestock, a factor that in the past had created problems of overloading with manure, which mixed with urine releases ammonia and pollutes the environment. Hence the need to reduce emissions.

The proposal

And so the government has set up a 25 million euro plan to reduce the 100 million animals in the area by a third, providing for compensation for farmers.

An alternative is to push them to convert to extensive farms, with fewer animals on larger surfaces.

Options that at the moment do not convince breeders, who see their future seriously threatened. Out of 17,600 farms in the area, it is estimated that about 11,000 are at risk of closure. This would cause enormous damage to the economy of the entire country.

The precedent: the tax … on burps

The Dutch one, however, is not the only oddity on the subject. To contain methane fumes as much as possible, the New Zealand government recently proposed a burp tax on cattle and sheep.

Data in hand in New Zealand there are about 5 million people, but there are 10 million cattle and 26 million sheep. Almost half of the state’s emissions, therefore, come from agriculture.

In concrete terms, the New Zealand government’s proposal provides that, starting from 2025, farmers will pay taxes on animal burps. The plan, however, also considers a whole range of incentives for those who will achieve the goal of reducing methane emissions through feed additives, while planting trees on farms could be used to offset the fumes.