Agrarian Chamber critical of UN report calling for reduction of animal farming

Photo: Irena Šarounová / Czech Radio

One of the regional heads of the Czech Agrarian Chamber, Jaroslav Šíma, told the Czech News Agency on Tuesday that Czech farmers are against what they see as a campaign of describing pig and cattle farms as a major producer of greenhouse gasses. The statement was made in response to last week’s special report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which also looked into the effects of global eating habits and farming practices.

Photo: Irena Šarounová / Czech Radio
The IPCC special report says that it is no longer sufficient to reduce CO2 emissions produced in the energy sector and transport. Instead, the document states, reductions of greenhouse gasses produced through agriculture are also necessary. Aside from changes in the use of land, this extends to reducing the amount of meat consumption.

However, it seems the Czech Chamber of Agriculture does not share that opinion. On Tuesday, one of its board members, Jaroslav Šíma, did not mince words as he complained about calls for limiting the amount of pigs and cattle farmed in the country.

“What an idea! Everyone knows that agriculture [and forestry] account for 23 percent of greenhouse emissions. But no one found out from the report who produces the other 77 percent and how we are supposed to stop that.”

Mr. Šíma went on to say that any restrictions should first start in Germany and France, where numbers cattle numbers higher.

“Is that where we will go first and lower their levels down to ours? Can we then start solving this as a worldwide issue? No one will answer me this question.”

France and Germany are far ahead of the Czech Republic in their bovine and pig populations according to 2017 Eurostat data. However, they also rank among the European Union’s largest and most populous member states.

Furthermore, their production numbers are not far in excess of some other member states. For example, in 2017, Spain produced more pigs than either France or Germany.

Czech pig and cattle production has experienced a very significant fall since the Velvet Revolution. According to the Czech News Agency cattle production has gone down by 55 percent, while pig production is only at 30 percent of what it was back in 1989.

According to Mr. Šíma reducing animal husbandry will also lead to the lack of manure for Czech fields, increasing the need for fertilisers.