Cows graze at German parliament in environmental protest

Cows graze at German parliament in environmental protest
Cows graze outside the Reichstag Building during a protest by Greenpeace and animal rights activists, Berlin, Germany, May 16, 2023, photo: Reuter/Nadja Wohlleben

Environmental and animal rights activists led a small herd of dairy cows and calves to graze in front of the German parliament on Tuesday as part of a protest demanding more outdoor access for the animals.

The protest from Greenpeace and a German agricultural group aimed to highlight the conditions in which dairy cows are typically kept in Germany.

“Today, here in the middle of Berlin, we put cows out to pasture to show that this is where they should live, where they like to come. Unfortunately, 70% of cows in Germany are kept in stalls all year round, often even chained,” said Greenpeace agriculture expert Lasse van Aken.

Van Aken highlighted the benefits of allowing cows more access to pasture, calling it “climate-friendly” and a “driver of biodiversity.” He added, “And the cow? She just wants to go to pasture.”

According to data provided by Greenpeace, the percentage of cows with access to grass has significantly declined in the past decade. In 2010, 42% of cattle had access to pasture, but by 2020, this figure had dropped to just 31%.

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