Ireland moves to slaughter 200,000 cows over climate concerns

On Wednesday, a Freedom of Information Act request revealed that the Irish government is looking at plans to "cull" 200,000 cows to meet its climate goals to satisfy the European Union's (EU) net zero requirements.

According to the Irish Mirror, the reduction would cost taxpayers €600,000 over three years to pay for. The Department of Agriculture responded to the reports stating that the plan is not yet final policy, but a "modeling document" and various options are being considered. 

"The Paper referred to was part of a deliberative process – it is one of a number of modeling documents considered by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and is not a final policy decision," a spokesperson said. "As part of the normal work of Government Departments, various options for policy implementation are regularly considered.”

Last year, Ireland Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue introduced a proposal to begin a voluntary dairy reduction scheme next year as the country tries to reduce its emissions by 25% before 2030. 

According to reports from the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, Ireland has around 2.5 million beef and dairy cows, which account for two-thirds of the agricultural products. 

An Environmental Protection Agency report from 2021 found that the entire agriculture sector accounts for 38% of the country's Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) emissions.

A report by The Telegraph, notes that these revelations in Ireland come just after Dutch farmers were threatened with compulsory purchase for the same reason. The government would offer a financial incentive for the farmers to give up their cows. 

The EU has set a target to become the first continent to achieve net-zero greenhouse gases with 2050 as the legally binding target date, according to Eco-Logic. It has set a target of a 55% emissions reduction by 2030, as compared to levels seen in 1990. 

The European Climate Law was officially adopted on July 29, 2021. 

Image: Title: Cows