Dutch farmers join Brussels protest about meat and milk prices

cows shed indoors mega farmA number of Dutch farmers have joined colleagues from throughout Europe to protest about low milk and meat prices at today’s EU ministers emergency meeting in Brussels.

‘We are all after one thing,’ dairy farmer Marcel Ottink told broadcaster Nos. ‘Whether it is meat or milk, we should simply get a fair price.’

Pig farmer Frank van der Burg told the broadcaster he and his fellow farmers want a level playing field in Europe. In the Netherlands, he says, the rules are more strictly applied. ‘We get less for our meat and we are continually controlled in terms of the environment and animal welfare,’ he said. ‘In other countries, this happens much less.’

Last month Dutch pig farmers sounded the alarm about their finances, saying they have been hit hard by the Russian boycott, low pork prices and tough Dutch rules on animal welfare.

Rabobank, which is the biggest Dutch agricultural bank, said last week some 20% of the Netherlands’ 5,000 pig farmers are in financial trouble.

Milk farmers are also struggling because of the boycott and overproduction. Last month, the national statistics office CBS said Dutch farmers are being paid 30% less for milk than they were a year ago.

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