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Winning the Messaging Battle, Part I

How Dutch Farmers Are Using Manure to Protest the Government's Industry-Killing Climate Change Plan

AP Photo/Darron Cummings

Plans lawmakers in the Netherlands have to reduce emissions are being met with intense opposition by farmers who say it'll force them to go out of work or kill their own livestock. 

In a statement about its emission reduction targets—cutting nitrogen oxide and ammonia by 50 percent nationwide in the next eight years—the government was frank: "The honest message ... is that not all farmers can continue their business," reports ABC News. 

The government says emissions of nitrogen oxide and ammonia, which livestock produce, must be drastically reduced close to nature areas that are part of a network of protected habitats for endangered plants and wildlife stretching across the 27-nation European Union. (ABC News)

The proposal leaves two options for farmers: shut down or change their current practices. 

In response, some 40,000 farmers are protesting, blocking roads and supermarket distribution networks, leaving bales of hay in the streets, spraying government buildings with manure and leaving some on the street near the home of the minister leading the country's anti-pollution efforts. 

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has pushed back against the protesters, arguing, "You can demonstrate, but in a civilized way." 

He added: "So don't block highways, don't set off fireworks outside a minister's house and spread manure and … scare two children, and endanger families." 


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