The Dutch government has unveiled a $NZ42 Billion plan to radically reduce the number of livestock in the country as it struggles to contain an overload of animal manure. A deal to buy out farmers to try to reduce levels of nitrogen pollution in the country was agreed to by the new coalition government in the Netherlands earlier this week. But the plan, the first of its kind in the world, faces a huge backlash from farmers who have staged big street protests in recent years over the permanent damage to food production in the country if too many farmers are forced to quit. The Netherlands is Europe’s biggest meat exporter and often referred to as the tiny country that feeds the world. But it has been struggling with a pollution crisis caused by an excess of farm animals. It has the highest density of livestock in Europe – with more than 100 million cattle, chickens and pigs in total. The 13-year multibillion dollar plan, includes paying some farmers to relocate or exit the industry, and helping others transition to different methods of farming, with fewer animals on more land. The end result is expected to be close to a one-third reduction in the numbers of pigs, cows and chickens in the country.
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