Dutch court ruling on phosphate pollution

Supreme court backs agriculture ministry's legal right to force cuts in pig population

The Dutch agriculture ministry has been cleared by the country's supreme court to proceed with a new programme of measures to tackle phosphate pollution from the pig farming industry. The court ruled in the ministry's favour on Friday, rejecting objections made by Dutch farmers.

Under the ruling, the ministry can reduce pig numbers by 15% in addition to a 10% reduction already achieved. This would be achieved primarily through the government buying pig production rights, thereby cutting the total number available. The agriculture ministry is using the same technique to control agricultural pollution from poultry and cattle (EED 14/12/00).

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