‘What MP Leenders did is feeble’

Who? Fine particles researcher Nico Ogink of Wageningen Livestock ResearchWhat? Was portrayed by PvdA MP Henk Leenders as an advocate of a reduction in livestockWhere? On Facebook and the news platform Foodlog
Albert Sikkema

What happened? ‘I spoke at a Lower House hearing on fine particles emissions from the livestock sector and what you can do in barns to reduce it. The MP Henk Leenders asked me; “I don’t see anywhere in your report that emissions go down if there is less livestock. Why not?” To which I answered: “That is obvious, I don’t have to write a report about that.’ In an opinion piece he turned that into: ‘Reducing livestock numbers is the best measure”.’

What is wrong with that? ‘What he’s doing is very feeble. He asks a question along the lines of: would it solve the climate problem if there were far fewer people? The answer to that too is: that’s obvious. But does that mean I think it’s the best thing to do to curb global warming? No, that is his proposition, for which he makes use of my answer.’

What point did you in fact want to make at the hearing? ‘That the development of Dutch livestock farming in its current form has had its day – given the world market, resource prices and the demands of society. A new business model is needed, with a different production system with more added value. In order to make that switch we need new farming concepts. But you can’t get that analysis across at that kind of hearing.’

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