(Bloomberg) -- Angry Dutch farmers brought their cows to parliament, threatening to slaughter them in protest of the government’s nitrogen reduction targets.

The country’s goal to halve nitrogen output by 2030 will force some Dutch farmers out of business, according to a government plan published earlier this month. Hundreds of farmers gathered in The Hague on Tuesday accompanied by two cows.

“If the nitrogen measures are adopted, one of these two ladies will not go home, but will receive a one-way ticket to the slaughterhouse,” Dutch news agency ANP cited farmer Koos Cromwijk as saying in front of parliament.

The target, designed to comply with European Union rules on reducing nitrogen pollution, will require cuts of as much of 95% in emissions in some provinces, official data showed.

The Netherlands is the second-largest exporter of agricultural products, with estimated exports of 104.7 billion euros ($111 billion) in 2021, according to Wageningen University. Cattle and fertilizers are key sources of nitrogen emissions.

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.