Irish farmers say they will be forced to cull cows to meet climate targets
Government plan to cut agriculture emissions by 25% by 2030 will drive many farms into bankruptcy, say critics.
Donald Scully gazes at his herd of 208 cows munching grass and clover in a verdant field, as a light breeze ruffles the stillness.
“There is an enjoyment for me to come out and look and see how healthy and happy these cows are,” says Scully, 47, a third-generation dairy farmer. “Every single cow has her own personality, they’re all individuals.”
The pastoral scene in Ballyheyland, a landscape of rolling hills in County Laois, is replicated across rural Ireland. Ireland has 7.3 million cattle, substantially outnumbering humans, and a long history with the animal stretching into myth, including the Cattle Raid of Cooley, an epic tale considered the Irish Iliad. Agriculture dominated the economy well into the 20th century and moulded a vision of Ireland that still enchants visitors.
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