Friday 21 February 2020

Ministers halt meeting after militant farmers’ Facebook message

A tractor at an earlier protest in The Hague. Photo: Molly Quell

A meeting between ministers and farmers’ representatives was broken up early on Wednesday after militant lobby group Farmers Defence Force placed a message on Facebook denouncing ‘meat barons, dairy fools, feed farmers and bankers’ who would ‘betray the sector like Judas’.

The meeting, to discuss the future of the Dutch farming sector, took place between prime minister Mark Rutte, farm minister Carola Schouten and the farmers’ lobby group Landbouwcollectief, which includes FDF.

The Facebook message was published while the talks were underway and was condemned by Schouten as ‘a bridge too far’. ‘I will decide who I talk to and I will talk to everyone,’ she said.

Schouten is currently involved in a round of fact-finding meetings with companies across the the farming industry.

The FDF, which has since apologised for the statement, was formed last May and aims to help farmers who are ‘confronted with the excesses of environmental extremists’.

The organisation was also behind the tractor blockades which took place nationwide in October.

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