On 10 June 2022, the Dutch government announced plans to cut nitrogen emissions by as much as 70 per cent to help the Netherlands reach arbitrary climate goals by 2030. For farmers, this means a cut of around 30 per cent of their livestock, leading generational farmers out in the cold.
In response, farmers across the Netherlands have taken to the streets in protest. Acknowledging the family nature of farming, Dutch farm children have also joined the protest.
Images across multiple social media platforms show a strong display of strength from the farmers, with thousands of tractors forming a rolling blockade across parts of the country.
Fishermen have also joined with the farmers in a show of solidarity and in response to concerns over the sustainability of fishing by blockading Dutch ports.
Despite the peaceful stand against the destruction of livelihoods, the Dutch police have responded with what could only be described as an excessive show of force. Reports coming in on 6 July 2022 not only state that Dutch police have been using tear gas on the farmers, but reports from people on the ground in the Netherlands have shown police pointing handguns at farmers, with shots fired at protestors in one location.
Video shows two officers drawing their weapons at one tractor as it tried to drive around the corner, with police opening fire. Further images show bullet holes in the frame of the tractor cab, just inches from where the farmer was sitting.
Responses to the shooting have come quick and fast on Twitter, with people declaring that ‘if the police are going to open fire on farmers & protestors then I would assume the farmers & protestors can return fire to protect themselves. Civil war is going to move across the globe…the first to be taken down should be the liberal elite – they’re the real problem.’ Another noted that the ‘Rutte regime has just declared war on their own citizens’ and ‘the gloves are definitely off on this one’.
So why are the Dutch authorities so hellbent on destroying farming in the Netherlands? According to one report, the Dutch Administrative Court believes the Netherlands is not doing enough to protect its natural resources. As the second-largest agricultural exporter in the world, the Netherlands has been identified as one of the highest emitters of greenhouse gasses in Europe – mostly blaming cattle for the problem.
Destroying the lives of generational farmers is not the only way to address this problem. Meat and Livestock Australia’s research and development program aims to improve the short and long-term sustainability of both the natural environment and farmers’ livelihoods. This includes on-farm activities such as natural water management and preservation, adaptable grazing systems, and innovative approaches such as improving strains of dung beetles for waste management. This can be achieved whilst maintaining red meat production that meets the community’s needs.
Nitrogen plays a crucial role in all living things and is vital to maintaining our food supply. Despite the abundance of nitrogen in the atmosphere, it is mainly inaccessible until nitrogen is converted into ammonia and becomes available to plants. For cattle producers, nitrogen is found in fertiliser to increase pasture growth. It is mainly used in large cattle production to ensure the sustainability of pastures. The downside is the potential for nitrogen to leach through the soil and into the waterways. Rather than forcing the culling of thousands of livestock, other measures could be used to address the problem in a sustainable, less destructive manner.
Source – https://afipn.com.au/dutch-police-fire-at-farmers-protesting-to-protect-their-livelihood/