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Ireland: Farmers on streets as govt wants to kill 200,000 cows to meet ‘climate change goals’

The Irish government wants to kill 65,000 cows every year for three years to cut greenhouse gas emissions, and if they succeed, it will reduce the country's livestock by 10 per cent.

European countries are working ‘hard’ to meet their ‘climate change goals‘, and amidst the efforts, some ‘glorious’ ideas that need a golden page in history have become a reality. The Government of Ireland is considering one such idea as they want to kill around 200,000 healthy cows to meet their climate change goals. The farmers are protesting against the proposal, and Tesla chief Elon Musk also came forward against the idea. The Irish government wants to kill 65,000 cows every year for three years, and if they succeed, it will reduce the country’s livestock by 10 per cent.

Recently, on 13th July (local time), over 2,000 farmers took out a rally in Bandon, expressing their frustration and fears over a potential cut to the nitrates derogation stocking rate. Farmers attended the protests on foot, trucks and tractors. Not only dairy farms, but farmers from other agriculture sectors also turned up at the protest. IFA poultry chairman Nigel Sweetnam said, “This isn’t just a dairy problem, this is a problem for the whole rural economy. If you take cows and production out of the economy, it will have knock-on effects.”

Conor O’Leary, the chair of Cork Central’s Irish Farmers Association, said, “There are so many farmers that would be affected by this. We have done everything that’s been asked of us for 15 years, and we are saying that better measures can be undertaken. For a typical farmer, it would mean approximately a little more than 10 per cent reduction in cow numbers.”

“That last percentage of cows is where we make our income. Costs probably run at 70 per cent of income, and you make a profit on 30 per cent, but the last 10 per cent of cows, the profit might be 100 per cent,” he said. The nitrate derogation limit is 250 kg of organic nitrogen per hectare, which is being reduced to 220 kg of nitrate per hectare. According to Cornor, it will have a real economic impact on the farmers. We may have to reduce cow numbers, but the fixed costs will remain. It’s the first move by the European Commission that will affect the income of the farmers. We are concerned about that, and farmers are worried,” he added.

Irish Plan to kill cows

Notably, under the European Green Deal, 27 countries have agreed to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 55 per cent by 2030. For some countries, the goal is not that easy to meet. One such country appears to be Ireland, which has decided out-of-the-box idea to fulfil the goal of killing 200,000 cows in the next three years.

The bizarre proposal also caught the attention of Elon Musk, who replied to Authoor Ashley St Clair’s Tweet and said, “This really needs to stop. Killing some cows doesn’t matter for climate change.” Ashley had called the push to end the life of both animals and humans in the name of animal activism a “fundamental evil”.

According to The Trumpet, the project would cost Ireland USD 640 million, and it will result in reducing the emission by 25 per cent over seven years. The proposal will be offered to the ‘ageing farmers’ as a ‘retirement exit scheme’. That means the older farmers can take the money (Euro 5,000 per cow) and let the government kill cows to reduce GHG emissions.

Agriculture representatives, farmers and some politicians have called it “absolute madness”. Pat McCormack, president of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association, questioned the proposal and said, “We’re the one industry with a significant road map, and, to be quite honest with you, our herd isn’t any larger than it was 25 to 30 years ago. Can the same be said for the transport industry? Can the same be said for the aviation industry?”

AOC wanted to get rid of the ‘farting cows’

In 2019, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a US lawmaker, expressed her concerns over climate change and said if the issue were not addressed in time, it would end the world in 12 years. It was similar to the now-deleted statement of climate activist Greta Thunberg, who said humanity would end in five years in 2018. However, before the prophetic tweet completed five years, it came to premature death in early 2023.

Anyway, returning to AOC in 2019, she called for completely ditching fossil fuels and taking drastic steps, including totally overhauling transportation. She said, “We set a goal to get to net-zero, rather than zero emissions, in 10 years because we aren’t sure that we’ll be able to get rid of farting cows and aeroplanes that fast fully.” However, Fox News pointed out her remarks were first replaced with “emissions from cows” and then deleted completely.

Later, in an interview, she said the proposal did not mean to end cows but to find “innovative” ways to reduce cow flatulence.

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