Dutch farmers are in revolt over Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s government orders to implement its so-called nitrogen policy, which calls for the forced reduction of nitrogen emissions.
The government also calls for the reduction of livestock by 25% and for farmers to use organic fertilizer to promote more “sustainable” methods of agriculture, potentially closing a third of the country’s farms.
“Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s Government says the emissions of nitrogen oxide and ammonia, which livestock produce, must be drastically cut back close to nature areas, which are part of a network of protected habitats for endangered plants and wildlife stretching across the EU,” the Daily Express reported.
The Netherlands’ move to clamp down on farming, especially amid the looming food crisis, has had Dutch farmers up in arms, with many blaming the government’s anti-farming policies on the Rutte government’s ties to the World Economic Forum and its climate change policies.
Over the weekend, protests intensified as farmers, who were joined by truck drivers and other blue-collar workers moved to blockade food distribution centers in the Netherlands. Numerous trucks and tractors also blockaded the Netherlands-Germany border and various sports. Others dumped manure and bales of hay at local town and city halls.
Dutch police mounted a significant response to the protests, which went viral on social media.
The results of the ongoing protests have been significant, with photographs of empty supermarket shelves surfacing on social media, as reported by the Epoch Times.
Speaking to the publication, one of the protesters, Mark de Jong, who owns a transportation company, explained that the protests are being caused by anger towards policies enacted by the Dutch government and the European Union.
“The farmers are not the problem — they are the people who have always looked after the land and nature,” he said.
MP Thierry Baudet, who leads the Forum for Democracy party, explains the origins of the nitrogen reduction policy to Natura 2000, an EU-based conservation plan to protect natural habitats in the Netherlands.
Farming in the Netherlands, which uses ammonia contained in livestock-based manure, has had an impact on the protected habitats due to the increase in nitrogen composition of the soil. The expansion of farming goes against the country’s Habitats Directive, which requires careful conservation of habitats and species protected under the Natura 2000 directive.
“At the time, politicians having always been as stupid as they are now, nobody was thinking ahead and wondering, look, what might this mean in the future?” Baudet told the Epoch Times.
“We are politically facing a sort of a bureaucratic problem because the Netherlands has agreed with the EU that it will protect [existing plant species], but now because of increased population, more cattle, and so on, we’re going to have a change in vegetation in the country.”
Netherlands imposes some of the highest restrictions on nitrogen greenhouse gas emissions in Europe – a fact that has not gone unnoticed by Baudet and other opposition politicians who are calling for a relaxation of the country’s environmentalist policies to be more in line with its neighbors and less detrimental to the agriculture industry.