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E.U. Rules Will Force Dutch To Ban Livestock Farming


Dutch livestock farmers are increasingly outraged and bewildered over a 2019 court ruling that has begun to force thousands of them out of the business—by design. 


The 2019 ruling, issued by the highest court in the Netherlands, upheld lower court rulings that found the country was failing to comply with European Union (E.U.) environmental regulations. The ruling ordered the Dutch government to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020—requiring the country to "nearly double the entire amount of greenhouse gas emission cuts it has made since 1990 within one year" (something it notably failed to do). The chief basis of the ruling appears to be limiting the impacts of greenhouse-gas emissions tied to manure.


In response to the ruling, the Dutch government eventually introduced a plan, costing tens of billions of dollars, to "radically" reduce the number of livestock raised in the country by more than 35 million by 2030. The plan includes "paying some Dutch livestock farmers to relocate or exit the industry, and helping others transition to more extensive (as opposed to intensive) methods of farming, with fewer animals and a bigger area of land."

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