Dutch Christian Democrats want less cattle


Western Europe


photo ANP, Sander Koning

The Dutch Christian Democrats (CDA) want a reduction of cattle for farmers to achieve ambitious nitrogen goals. That is a remarkable turn, given the fact that the CDA is a party supported by many farmers.

The party states that in a recently released vision paper on cattle breeding. ""In the Netherlands, we want to live, work and recreate in a clean environment", writes the party. According to them, farmers threaten this clean environment. "Although Dutch farmers are the most efficient and environmentally friendly in the world, their impact on our small country is too big.".

In places where the cattle is asking too much from the soil, farmers will have to close their barn doors. This can be done through generous stoppage schemes and by relocating companies to more suitable grounds, writes Dutch daily De Telegraaf. Besides that, farmers can become some sort of forester by getting benefits from the state to turn meadows into untouched nature.

MP Derk Boswijk. photo ANP, Marco de Swart
According to the agricultural spokesman of the party, MP Derk Boswijk, the new plans of his party are part of good stewardship. Stewardship is an active occupation; he writes in the foreword to the vision. "It means improving, refining, but also eliminating. Stewardship is not maintaining the status quo."

According to the CDA, all these plans are necessary in order to cut nitrogen emissions in half in 2030. That goal is more ambitious than the current cabinet has; they want to reduce nitrogen emissions by 26 per cent in 2030 and halve the current emissions by 2035.

The CDA wants a turnaround in the agricultural sector to make it future proof. "Not making sharp choices is not an option," the vision states, "We ask for more than what the earth can give us."

By investing 1.5 to 2 billion euros annually in the transition of agriculture over the next ten to fifteen years, "a new agriculture can emerge, which is in harmony with the wishes of society."

The Christian Democrats calls the reduction of intensive livestock farming "not an end in itself." However, shrinkage will be the result of "various factors interacting." The CDA is against a specific target on the shrinkage of the livestock. "That is the reversal of ends and means." "If our plan is adopted, I think the livestock will shrink on its own. I am convinced of that," Boswijk told the AD. "But in a way that offers a perspective for farmers."



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