Roads filled with tractors, and gridlock outside the capital: farmers are downing tools, and amassing in The Hague to protest
Translated by Thomas Ansell
As reported in the Leeuwarder Courant, the complaints of the farmers are multi-faceted. Farmers often feel like they are a drain on society: it seems as through they are held responsible for all of the environmental problems, and so are also required to come up with solutions. They also feel as though they are often caricatured as animal-mishandlers, and polluters.
According to the farmers interviewed, these claims are rarely borne out. An example of this is the manner in which the nitrogen levels in soil were determined. “This is now too often done by using mathematical modelling. We want concrete measurements to be taken by truly independent experts”, says Harm Wiegersma of the Dutch Dairy Cattle Farmers Association (NMV).
The proposal suggested by Tjeerd de Groot (D66), that cattle farmers must halve their numbers of cattle in accordance with a new nitrogen policy is seen as a wrong-ended approach by the famers. When commissioner Remkes (VVD) suggested that farmers who have their livestock in the vicinity of nature reserves should be bought out, tempers ran exceptionally high.
Farmers want more appreciation and recognition of their importance in the well-being of the country. Various fishermen have also joined the protest on this note. Without arable farmers, cattle farmers, and fishermen, there would be very little food on Dutch tables, and the group of protesters want this recognised.
The organisation who are putting together the protest thing that around 10,000 people will attend, along with dozens of tractors. It is not clear whether the protests will result in anything concrete, nor is it clear how many tractors will actually be allowed into The Hague.
Image via the Leeuwarder Courant