Ireland is floating a proposal to cull 200,000 cows in order to meet its climate targets under the European Green Deal—a compact pushing the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) movement. 

The Irish Department of Agriculture is reportedly planning to kill off 65,000 cows annually across a three-year period to meet these demands. Yet, they’ve insisted this is a “modeling document” and not actual policy.

In November 2021, Ireland was urged to cull 1.3 million head of cattle to curb their carbon footprint. Their government claimed farming is responsible for 35% of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions—the highest emitter in the EuropeanUnion (EU). This recommendation came after the Biden administration and EU announced support for the Global Methane Pledge. The agreement requires a commitment to taking “voluntary actions to contribute to a collective effort to reduce global methane emissions at least 30 percent from 2020 levels by 2030” with the explicit goal of  eliminating “0.2˚C warming by 2050.”

Since the Emerald Isle is a European Union member, it is subject to Brussels’ net-zero directives. Unsurprisingly, Ireland also boasts a 99.2 score on the World Economics Index, which scores individual nations on their environmental impact on a 0 (high) to 100 (low) scale. 

Ireland isn’t the only European nation exploring “financial inducements” for agriculture. Reuters reports Brussels approved a $1.61 billion dollar deal for the Dutch government to buy out farmers to reduce nitrogen fertilizer use—an action required by and emblematic of ESG principles.

The article further explained, “The Dutch need to reduce excess nitrogen levels, caused in part by decades of intensive farming, a problem that has led to courts blocking important construction projects until the issue is resolved.”

The EU Commission lauded the questionable move to force “voluntary” farm closures through two Netherlands schemes—LBV and LBV plus—for “voluntary definitive closure of livestock husbandry sites.” The policy is described as follows: 

The schemes, which can run until 27 February 2028, are open to small and medium-sized livestock farmers in the Netherlands that voluntary close their breeding sites, provided that their current nitrogen deposition load exceed certain minimum levels.  

Under the schemes, the beneficiaries guarantee that the closure of their production capacity is definitive and irreversible, and that they will not start the same breeding activity elsewhere in the Netherlands or within the EU.

The Telegraph warned their Irish neighbors about “the collateral damage of net zero” getting too close to the United Kingdom, which voted to exit the EU in 2016 through the Brexit movement. 

“Dutch and Irish politicians have failed to recognise that regenerative farming techniques allow livestock farmers to help mitigate climate change by sequestering carbon in the soil,” the publication noted. “And we should be embracing the energy-creating capacity of cows. Tallow from British cattle is already being turned into biodiesel – a one tonne animal produces enough for around 180 litres. And thanks to Somerset-based start-up, Biofactory, new anaerobic technology is already available to turn the methane in their manure into usable electricity and heat. The manure itself is converted by this process into a more nutritious digestate that can substantially reduce the need for harmful artificial fertiliser. My own dairy farm is investing in these new green technologies and we hope to be carbon neutral and net exporters of energy in just a few years.” 

As we’ve noted at IWF, high ESG scores usually precipitate economic instability. Destroying animal husbandry in the name of decarbonization will not only have ruinous economic consequences, but ecological ones too. 

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