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Environmental Legislation Threatens Dutch Livestock Agriculture


During December 2021, the Environmental Assessment Agency of the Netherlands released a 12-year plan to halve nitrogen oxide and ammonia emissions before 2030.  Netherlands has the highest animal density in the E.U. with 3.8 animal units per hectare (1.5 units per acre).  An ‘animal unit’ is defined as 1.0 dairy cow or mature bovine, 0.5 breeding sows, 0.3 growing hogs, 0.007 broilers, 0.014 laying hens or 0.03 turkeys.


The required reduction in emissions would necessitate a 30 percent reduction in the population of cattle, hogs and poultry.  An allocation of $25 billion has been made to relocate or buy-out livestock farms. This would change animal agriculture as it presently exists and would reduce the capacity of Holland to be a leading exporter of meat products.


Farmers have protested over the past three years without obtaining any assurances that the target date or quantum of reduction will be altered from the 2021 projection.