Commentary Farming

Czech farmers reject UN proposal to reduce livestock numbers

Czech farmers have rejected a campaign which claims that pig and cattle are significant greenhouse gas producers participating in global warming. The farmers reacted negatively to the recently published UN report on agriculture’s contribution to carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane production.

A report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), published in Geneva on August 8th, states that to combat global warming, it is no longer enough to curb carbon dioxide emissions from energy and transport. According to the document, there is a need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions produced in agriculture and land use. In addition to land-use change, the report also recommends a change in diet, namely a reduction in meat consumption. A hundred experts from dozens of countries including the Czech Republic co-worked on the IPCC report.

According to Jaroslav Šíma, head of the Czech Regional Agrarian Chamber, proposals to reduce pig and cow breeding are emerging in the Czech Republic due to the IPCC global report. However, the numbers of pigs and cows have fallen by as much as two-thirds in 30 years and are relatively low compared to France and Germany, where Šíma said they should decrease rather than in Czechia.

In the last 30 years, the number of pigs bred in the Czech Republic decreased to about 30 percent, cattle by 55 percent. According to the Czech Agrarian Chamber, the numbers of pigs and cattle are decreasing steadily, which reinforces the unhealthy higher proportion of crop over animal production. According to the Chamber, on the other hand, meat consumption has been increasing in the Czech Republic for a long time, so the state is not self-sufficient in meat production. Thus, it makes no sense to reduce livestock farming further.

Jaroslav Šíma also points out that although the UN reiterates that agriculture and forestry produce 23 percent of greenhouse gases, it does not indicate who the producer of the remaining 77 percent is, nor what should be done to reduce the majority of greenhouse gas production.

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