Angry Dutch farmers vow to cause more protest chaos than ever

The government sparked fury with plan to curb livestock numbers by a third to meet climate change targets

Dutch farmers have vowed to cause chaos in the country with their 'hardest demonstrations ever' Credit: VINCENT JANNINK/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Dutch farmers have vowed to cause chaos in the country with their “hardest demonstrations ever” after talks over government climate change targets ended in deadlock.

The Dutch government sparked fury with its proposals to curb livestock numbers by a third in order to slash nitrogen emissions.

In recent months, the country has been brought to its knees, with farmers blocking roads, airports, supermarket distribution centres, as well as manure sprayed at police officers and hay bales torched in dirty protests.

The mass disruption led the Dutch government to appoint a mediator in the hope of brokering a pact with the farmers to curb future protests.

But the militant Farmers Defence Force, which represents eight agricultural organisations, some 95 per cent of the industry, was locked out of the first round of negotiations earlier this week with Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

'You can prepare for the toughest demonstrations ever'

Following the talks on Friday, the group said it was extremely disappointed with their outcome, as ministers refused to budge from their targets.

FDF foreman Mark van den Oever on Saturday said: “If I have a taste of the mood, I think you can prepare for the toughest demonstrations that FDF has ever conducted.”

Refusing to specify on the group’s plans, he added: “We're not going to dwell on that, but we're definitely going to escalate. We always come up with something special."

The first signs of backlash following the talks appeared early Saturday when farmers smashed down a fence in order to light a fire next to a busy highway in Putten, close to Amsterdam.

Workers clean debris during farmer protest in the Netherlands Credit: SEM VAN DER WAL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Escaping in their tractors, the protesters then drove the wrong way on the road as they fled the police.

Without a deal, the Dutch government plans to buy out farmers to shut down the production of millions of cows, chickens and cows to slash emissions in half by 2030.

The Netherlands’ vast industrial farming system has turned it into an agricultural powerhouse, only second in global exports behind the United States.

However, the government’s assault on the €105 billion-a-year agriculture business has triggered an outpouring of public support for farmers.

Mr Rutte’s ruling coalition is in dire straits, according to pollsters, who blame the emission cuts for the slump.

The studies suggest the 55-year-old prime minister, the country’s longest serving leader, could lose 13 of his 34 seats in Parliament.

Meanwhile the newly-formed Farmer-Citizen Movement is now polling in second place behind Me Rutte’s VVD party, expected to secure 18 seats at the next election, scheduled for March 2025.