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Dutch Farmer Gets Emotional

Jeroen van Maanen explains why he loves cows and fears for his future

Dutch farmer and protest leader, Jeroen van Maanen, choked up when I asked him what he loved about farming. He said it was the cows. He fears he will lose them if the Dutch government’s strict new regulations are implemented. — MDS

Boys, when they're three or four years old, they want to become a policeman or a pilot or a firefighter. I never wanted it. The first thing I wanted to do was become a farmer.

People say they want to have small family farms, but actually the farms who can still exist are getting bigger and bigger and bigger.

What do you like about it?

Working with nature. I know the families of my cows better than I do for my own family. You know, when we talk about that cow, I can tell you about his mother, his grandmother, his great grandmother, and I can picture them in my head.

So it's yeah, I, I can't explain. It's it's it's… it's deep.

You love them.

It’s just deep. Yeah. It's your life. I hate fucking crying for a camera, but it happens. There's emotional value about it. You know, a farmer isn't a farmer for money. It’s the way of life. It's not appreciated anymore.

Modern people, especially in the city, the only thing they care about is at five o'clock in the afternoon to go to the supermarket and grab their food for that day.

You know, in history, people would spend all day collecting food or hunting or whatever. We made agriculture to make life easier. You can be a cameraman or a journalist because you don't need to grow your own food. You don't have to milk cows. You don't have to slaughter your pig.

The fucking whole world is in crisis. Frans Timmermans [Vice President of the European Commission] says he wants to have a Europe that’s 25% organic farming. Well, it's going to cause hunger for 30 million people.

How did you feel when you saw that there was support for the farmers?

It was great. It felt like American or Canadian soldiers at the end of the war, you know? There were people all over the place, waving and put their thumbs up. No one was actually knew why we were there. But they could all feel the feeling.

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Michael Shellenberger