October 28, 2020

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Controversial cattle feed measure almost certainly off the table

Controversial cattle feed measure almost certainly off the table


Photo: ANP

A mandatory adjustment to the concentrate dairy farmers give their animals will almost certainly be dropped. The measure should reduce the sector’s nitrogen emissions but does not deliver enough in this regard. Sources from The Hague confirm this after a message from RTL Nieuws.

The new rules sparked violent protests from farmers. They argued that less protein-rich forage in addition to milk production would damage the health of their cows. Earlier this week, the ministry announced that it would seriously examine this, also because the dry and warm weather would leave the quality of the grass poor.

In the end, according to insiders, the limited nitrogen space created by the measure would have been decisive. A reduction in nitrogen emissions is urgently required, for example in order to be able to issue permits for the construction of houses. The responsible minister Carola Schouten (Agriculture and Nature) now has to work out alternative measures.

Last year, the State Council stopped the way in which permits were granted for projects that released nitrogen until then. According to the highest administrative court, the approach offered too little protection for endangered natural areas.

This decision made it necessary to urgently reduce nitrogen emissions. Only then will there be more space, for example for building houses and building new infrastructures.

For this reason, the maximum speed on the motorways was reduced to 100 kilometers per hour during the day. However, drastic measures have not yet been taken in agriculture, where nitrogen is the largest polluter.

“What a fuss,” says SP MP Frank Futselaar. “Fifteen months after the court ruling, this cabinet has hardly taken any real steps to address the nitrogen problem.” GroenLinks MP Laura Bromet wants to have a quick debate with the Minister. “The shrinking of the livestock is now inevitable,” she says.