the Court of Auditors wants to reduce the herd for ecological reasons – RT in French
The administrative order’s highest financial court has taken aim at cattle numbers in its recommendations. Ecological imperatives would imply reducing the herd, which raises the concern of breeders.
The president of the National Federation of Farmers’ Unions (FNSEA) Arnaud Rousseau said he was “annoyed and hurt” by the report of the Court of Auditors.
By writing that “respecting France’s commitments in terms of reducing methane emissions necessarily calls for a significant reduction in livestock”, the Elders of rue Cambon, who have just published their recommendations on livestock farming on May 22 in a 137-page report, aroused great emotion in the agricultural world.
Breeders, already largely affected by the economic crisis, are worried about such a recommendation to reduce their herds. In question: greenhouse gases due to the methane produced during the digestion of animals. The financial jurisdiction even assesses the responsibility of cattle farming at “11.8% of CO2 equivalent emissions, comparable to those of residential buildings in the country”.
Farmers in danger
The recommendations of the Court of Auditors advocate a roadmap which would result in a rapid reduction in the number of farmers. The document proposes two recommendations: the first is to “better support the breeders most in difficulty by developing a retraining aid system”; the second is to “define and make public a cattle herd reduction strategy”.
🐮 In 2020, there are 9️⃣1️⃣ 1️⃣2️⃣3️⃣ farms specializing in cattle breeding (milk, meat and mixed) or 32.7% of the useful agricultural area.
Cattle farming is the most subsidized agricultural activity in France with €4.3 billion per year 💶
— Court of Auditors (@Courdescomptes) May 22, 2023
The motivation of the Court of Auditors is explained in the introduction to the report. The reforms of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) of 2003 and 2013 thus aim to “support agricultural production” and “ensure a fair standard of living for farmers”, but also to “ensure sustainable management of natural resources and the preservation of the climate”.
A European objective transcribed into national law with the energy-climate law of 2019 which aims for carbon neutrality by 2050 and which, according to the Court of Auditors, indirectly commits France to reducing cattle breeding.
In addition, these objectives are also reiterated by the Global Methane Pledgewhich was launched in November 2021 during COP 26. This “global methane pact” was signed by France and involves a 30% reduction in methane emissions between 2020 and 2030.
A political risk for the majority?
The Netherlands, another signatory state, saw the agricultural world rise up against the political class in place and the Citizen Agricultural Movement, which promised to oppose the reduction of the herd, came out ahead in the provincial elections of 2023. .
On the side of the parliamentarians, the deputy National Rally Jérôme Buisson denounced a “punitive ecology” which consists in importing foreign meat and reducing the local herd.
On the side of the Republicans, the deputy Xavier Breton got carried away in the National Assembly, going so far as to wonder if this attack “against the meat industry” was not “deliberately organized”. Indeed, a few days before the recommendations of the Court of Auditors, the Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire inaugurated a factory specializing in vegetable meat. The response from the Minister of Industry has the merit of clarity. Roland Lescure defended the reduction in meat consumption as a necessity, saying: “We need less meat. We support the sector in this direction. There’s no reason to stick your head in the sand like ostriches do.”
The Court of Auditors calls for a reduction in the cattle herd in our country and the Minister of the Economy promotes vegetable proteins. @bretonxavier asks the Prime Minister: “What is the point of going to the Salon de l’Agriculture for long hours, at the… pic.twitter.com/5OwXzqAJXw
— MPs The Republicans (@Republicains_An) May 23, 2023
After a major social conflict linked to the pension reform, the government should nevertheless avoid going too far on this issue. Thus, the written response of the Ministry of Agriculture to the report of the Court of Auditors, posted online on May 22, challenged the country’s commitment to reduce its enteric methane emissions by 30% between 2020 and 2030 by joining the Global Methane Pledge.
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