Ireland’s Department of Agriculture is considering the slaughter of 200,000 dairy cows in a bid to meet climate emissions targets.
Under the plan, roughly 65,000 cows would be killed every year over the next three years at a cost of €600,000 to taxpayers.
Should officials move forward with the proposal, it would make Ireland the latest in a series of European countries seeing their farming communities pressed under the heavy burden of government regulation in the name of fighting climate change.
“The Paper referred to was part of a deliberative process – it is one of a number of modelling documents considered by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) and is not a final policy decision,” the Irish Mirror quoted a spokesperson for the Agriculture Department as saying. “As part of the normal work of Government Departments, various options for policy implementation are regularly considered.”
Over the past decade, dairy cows have increased around 40 percent, while the number beef cows dropped about 17 percent, the Mirror reported.
Following a report from the Food Vision Dairy Group last October, Irish officials set a target to reduce emissions by 25 percent. The agriculture sector as a whole accounts for more than 37 percent of Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to the report, which laid out 19 recommendations on how to lower emissions.
“This process has enabled all stakeholders to shape how Ireland’s dairy industry can best meet its climate change commitments,” Group Chair Professor Gerry Boyle said in remarks after the report was published. “I believe that this report captures all of the various perspectives of stakeholders following nine months of intensive deliberations.”
The DAFM spokesperson added, “The Government is fully committed to the long-term viability of the Irish sector including our farm families who are the bedrock of the industry. It is a sector that is the jewel in the crown of our overall agri-food sector. We will ensure that the sector is put on a firm footing for this and subsequent generations.”