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Elon Musk, farmers torch Ireland government proposal to slaughter 200K cows to meet EU climate change goals


Elon Musk weighed in over the weekend on reports of a proposal by Ireland’s government to slaughter roughly 200,000 cows in order to meet the European Union’s climate change goals. 

“This really needs to stop. Killing some cows doesn’t matter for climate change,” Musk tweeted Saturday, responding to author Ashley St. Clair. 

St. Clair had tweeted an editorial published by Cowboy State Daily titled, “Ireland Looking To Kill 200,000 Cows To Fight Climate Change; Are US Herds Next?” 

The Telegraph, the national British newspaper, recently reported that the Irish government is considering a plan to cull 200,000 cattle amid pressure from Brussels. 


According to the newspaper, one option being considered by the Irish Department of Agriculture to reduce emissions from farming by a quarter by 2030 is to initiate a cull of 65,000 cows a year for three years, effectively reducing the national dairy herd by 10%. The proposal reportedly would be offered as a voluntary option to aging farmers as a “retirement exit scheme.” 

The Irish Department of Agriculture has since said reports were referring to a “modeling document” included in a “deliberative process,” but no final plans have been agreed upon. 

A farmer seen feeding his cattle ahead of a visit by Prince William and Princess Kate in Grange, County Meath on March 4, 2020, near Dublin. The Irish government reportedly is considering plans to cull 200,000 cattle. ( Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

“Reports like this only serve to further fuel the view that the government is working behind the scenes to undermine our dairy and livestock sectors,” Tim Cullinan, president of the Irish Farmers’ Association, told The Telegraph, warning that beef production would simply shift out of the country if the plan were to be enforced. “While there may well be some farmers who wish to exit the sector, we should all be focusing on providing a pathway for the next generation to get into farming.” 

“We’re the one industry with a significant roadmap, and, to be quite honest with you, our herd isn’t any larger than it was 25 to 30 years ago,” Pat McCormack, president of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association, added. “Can the same be said for the transport industry, can the same be said for the aviation industry?”


Irish cow auction

Cattle in animal pens at cattle auction in Ennis, County Clare, Ireland. Reports say the Irish Department of Agriculture is considering a mass cattle cull to meet European Union climate change initiatives. (Tim Graham/Getty Images)

The Irish Independent first reported about the Irish Department of Agriculture document, revealing €5,000 compensation per cow was being proposed. 

Irish politician Peadar Tóibín, the Aontú party leader, spoke before the Irish Parliament last week, citing figures from the Farming Independent showing 200,000 cattle to be culled by 2025. 

“Just a year and half’s time. It’s an incredible threat to the farming sector at a cost of about €600 million. Now, a full 25% of beef that’s being imported into the European Union is now coming from Brazil,” Tóibín said during a May 30 session. “How is it environmentally friendly to kill large swathes of the Amazon, import that beef from Brazil to substitute for Irish beef that’s been culled here in this state. It’s a significant threat hanging over farmers in this country, and we must have a debate crystallizing exactly what the plan of this government is.”

“The Irish know about this from the potato famine,” Australian geologist Ian Plimer told Sky News of the reported plan for Irish cattle. “A third of their population died, a third emigrated, and the same thing will happen. They will lose productive people from Ireland, and they’ll go somewhere else.” Plimer added that the proposal would “only end in disaster.” 

Irish cattle graze in field

Cows graze in a field surrounded by a low mist in Athy, Co Kildare. Irish farmers and politicians sounded off on a plan to slaughter 200,000 cattle. (Niall Carson/PA Images via Getty Images)

In an opinion piece, The Telegraph’s Jamie Blackett warned, “It seems increasingly clear that there is an eco-modernist agenda to do away with conventional meat altogether. It’s not just the Extinction Rebellion mob, either; many of the world’s politicians are on board.”


“It’s very fortunate we’re out of the EU or we could be facing the same pressure from Brussels. Now, we can only hope that Rishi Sunak, who represents a heavily rural constituency in the Yorkshire Dales, understands what’s at stake for farming communities,” Blackett wrote. 


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