Friday, September 10, 2021

Too many cows in the Netherlands

The Netherlands has a water quality problem. Too many cows, producing too much shit and piss, which flows into the rivers and poisons them. But they also have a solution: forcing farmers to destock or sell up:

Dutch politicians are considering plans to force hundreds of farmers to sell up and cut livestock numbers, to reduce damaging ammonia pollution.

After the highest Dutch administrative court found in 2019 that the government was breaking EU law by not doing enough to reduce excess nitrogen in vulnerable natural areas, the country has been battling what it is calling a “nitrogen crisis”.


Now civil servants at the finance and agriculture ministry have drawn up proposals which include slashing livestock numbers [pdf] by 30%, one of the most radical plans of its kind in Europe. Two proposed scenarios include forcing some farmers to sell emissions rights and even their land to the state, if necessary.

Aotearoa also has a water quality problem, driven by the same cause: too many cows. And its time we pursued the same solution as the Netherlands. We cannot let farmers continue to destroy our environment and poison our drinking water supplies for private profit. We need to make them stop, and make them pay for the damage they have caused.