cattle in intensive rearing systems

Challenging road ahead: ENVI vote must lead to more ambitious regulation on livestock farming pollution 

Environment MEPs have voted to include cattle in the scope of the Industrial Emissions Directive. A good, yet mild first step towards better regulation of livestock farming pollution. 

24.5.2023

Brussels, 24th May – Environment MEPs have voted to include cattle in the scope of the Industrial Emissions Directive, though with higher thresholds of livestock units from those proposed by the European Commission. A good, yet mild first step towards better regulation of livestock farming pollution.  

Following the extremely disappointing AGRI opinion vote on the IED last month, ENVI MEPs have finally stood up against an escalating resistance to measures that tackle the impacts of European agriculture on the environment and climate. Especially as the livestock sector is responsible for 67% of EU ammonia emissions and 53% of EU methane emissions, within which cattle farming represents 70% of agricultural methane emissions. 

This comes just after Green Deal chief Frans Timmermans’ warning on Monday that “we don’t have any time to waste” when it comes to mitigating climate change after facing persistent allegations that the Green Deal’s regulations tackling environmental degradation and climate change threaten food security and farmers’ income in Europe. 

The IED’s strict pollution measures are not, contrary to popular claims, aimed at small family farms, but rather at industrial farming installations. By making it more difficult for industrial farmers to operate as usual, they can be encouraged to adopt more sustainable and animal welfare friendly practices. 

Miguel Ángel Zhan Dai, Climate Policy Officer at FOUR PAWS says, “Today’s vote on the IED shows the enormous challenge that the transition to a sustainable food system represents. The inclusion of cattle farming and the new thresholds for pig and poultry farming must be a first step to ending the regulatory exceptionality of livestock farming.  

"However, opting for a smaller scope than the one proposed by the Commission together with the light permitting system and the possibility of derogations, show the resistance that EU policymakers still have towards establishing the necessary rules to prevent industrial livestock pollution. This must be changed, there is no time to waste. The EU must act”.

ENDS

FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organisation for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need and protects them. Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler, the organisation advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding. FOUR PAWS’ sustainable campaigns and projects focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and wild animals – such as bears, big cats, orangutans and elephants – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA and Vietnam as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in twelve countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions. www.four-paws.org 

FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organisation for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need and protects them. Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler, the organisation advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding. FOUR PAWS’ sustainable campaigns and projects focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and wild animals – such as bears, big cats, orangutans and elephants – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA and Vietnam as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in twelve countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions. www.four-paws.org 

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