cattle inside dairy farm

Industrial farming to be given another free pass: Cattle farming excluded from IED 

The European co-legislators’ provisional agreement would see the exclusion of cattle farming from the pollution prevention rules of the law, making it impossible for it to achieve the intended results. 


BRUSSELS – The agreement reached between the European Parliament and the Council excludes cattle farming from the scope of the Industrial Emissions Directive. With this, another opportunity to adapt the animal farming industry for the future is lost. 

In line with the disappointing amendments proposed in the report of the European Parliament, the agreement between co-legislators sees the exclusion of cattle from the regulatory framework of the IED. This would mean that the biggest emitters of methane from the agricultural sector will continue to escape emissions prevention rules.  

Although the scope is extended for pig and poultry farms, with the exclusion of cattle, this remains insufficient to address the pollution generated by the sector, including 67% of EU ammonia emissions and 50% of the bloc’s methane emissions.  

If the EU is genuinely committed to tackling the adverse effects of the sector on public health, animal welfare, environmental issues, and global warming, it cannot afford to let this industrial disaster persist. 

Miguel Ángel Zhan Dai, Climate Policy Officer at FOUR PAWS said, “This provisional agreement proves once again that the industrial animal farming sector enjoys an unrivalled exceptionality. Although it is clear that the EU will not be able to meet its climate commitments until this is changed, the co-legislators have chosen to not even regulate its biggest emitters.  

"By excluding the largest cattle farms from the directive, the EU is electing to ignore 70% of all agricultural methane emissions and allowing business as usual for a sector that doesn’t work for animals or the climate. The Industrial Emissions Directive will continue to be an industrial disaster directive.” 



On 5 April 2022, the Commission adopted proposals for revised EU measures to address pollution from industrial installations, notably the revision of the IED. In line with the European Green Deal, the overall aim of these proposals is to progress towards the EU’s zero pollution ambition for a toxic-free environment and to support climate, energy and circular economy policies. 

Industrial activities, such as intensive livestock farming, have a significant impact on animal welfare, as well as the environment. The IED sets standards for the emission of pollutants, such as methane, ammonia and hydrogen sulfide, which are commonly emitted from animal housing facilities. These pollutants impact the EU’s potential to reach its climate ambitions and have harmful effects on animal health and welfare, as well as on human health. 

FOUR PAWS joint statement on the IED: Pollution From the Livestock Sector Must Be Addressed - FOUR PAWS in Europe - Animal Welfare Organisation (  

Morgane Speeckaert

Morgane Speeckaert

EU Communications Coordinator

+39 331 365 4110

Rue Ducale 29, 1000 Brussels


European Policy Office

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. 

Share now!