Only a few dozen farmers came to the farmers’ protest on the Malieveld in The Hague on Friday. Organizer Agraction said to expect “several hundred” farmers in advance.
Around 10 am a handful of farmers arrived at the Malieveld. In the hours that followed, a few dozen farmers joined in.
On Thursday evening, dozens of farmers gathered on tractors in The Hague. Part of the inner city of the court city was then closed to traffic.
When it became clear on Friday morning that not many people would come to the protest, the police released the city center again.
Farmers angry with minister for animal feed plan
The farmers are angry because of the plans of Minister Carola Schouten (Agriculture) to reduce nitrogen emissions in the country.
To achieve this, the minister has announced that he wants to prohibit the addition of extra protein to animal feed. Dairy farmers think this is a bad plan, because they believe that the health of animals is at stake.
“And if you come to the animals, you come to the farmer. We do not want to make concessions in the area of health,” said Agraction director Eric Luiten in conversation with NU.nl.
“Motion is the last straw”
Although Schouten adheres to the cattle feed plan, farmers cling to the motion of VVD and CDA, which was passed by the House on Thursday night Friday. The parties want the minister to have plans from the farmers’ sector to resolve the livestock issue by counting them to the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency.
Due to time constraints, Schouten does not see much point in this, and farmers should assume that the measure will take effect on 1 September.
The motion, the late protest announcement and given the livestock issue only affects dairy farmers, are the main reasons, according to Luiten, that the Malieveld remained largely empty on Friday. A stark contrast to previous farmer protests in which hundreds to thousands of farmers drove their tractors to The Hague.
“The problem is indeed less serious than when people shout: cut the livestock in half. But it is an essential part of the nitrogen problem that we want to draw attention to,” says Luiten.