Dairy cows at a farm in Spain

The Industrial Emissions Directive should address pollution from the largest emitters of the livestock sector, say NGOs 

A joint statement to demonstrate support to the Industrial Emissions Directive 


FOUR PAWS, together with other NGOs, has issued a joint statement expressing support for progressive provisions in the revision of the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) to ensure it adequately covers the most polluting livestock farming activities.   

The Directive currently covers the most polluting industries in the EU, including largescale, intensive pig and poultry farms, but does not require intensive cattle farms to adopt necessary measures to reduce emissions and environmental pollutants. The revised proposal from the European Commission, however, aims to include cattle farms under the permitting scheme and to extend the number of intensive poultry and pig farms under its measures. This step is necessary to achieve the EU’s climate and environmental goals and make sure that the livestock sector contributes to the green transition in line with other sectors.  

The proposed threshold of applying the legislation to farms with 150 Livestock Units (LSU) and the inclusion of intensive cattle rearing would target the biggest polluters (60% of ammonia and 43% of methane emissions from EU livestock). Contrary to statements made by some Ministers and MEPs at the recent AGRIFISH and AGRI Committee meetings in September, these new provisions would not actually affect the vast majority of farms; only 7.5% out of the EU’s 2.5 million livestock farms would be included.  

Sophie Aylmer, Head of Farm Animals and Nutrition Policy, stated: “We need to help farmers transition from harmful agricultural practices towards agroecological farming systems. This revision should not be a free pass for the most polluting livestock farmers to avoid once again their responsibilities. By targeting only 7.5% of the biggest polluters, the Industrial Emissions Directive has the potential to address 43% of EU livestock methane and 60% of ammonia. That is why we are urging Environment Ministers and MEPs sitting on ENVI to uphold these provisions and make sure the agro-industry starts addressing its impact on human health and the planet.” 

Without addressing emissions and pollutants from the livestock sector, the EU will not be able to meet its commitments made under the Global Methane Pledge, the European Green Deal nor its Zero Pollution Goals. To ensure the positive environmental effects of the extended scope of the IED, it is fundamental it maintains a robust permitting system with strict pollution prevention measures and animal welfare safeguards. Hence, the new light permitting system and the registration system are serious concerns that could represent a regression in environmental protection. 

Read the statement here

Joint Statement on Industrial Emissions Directive

Joint Statement on Industrial Emissions Directive

Find out more

Pigs in factory farming

More about European Blog & News

Click here

Share now!