Animal welfare organisation Dierenbescherming is supporting a protest by Brabant livestock farmers about stricter environmental rules, in a rare show of solidarity, Trouw reports.
On Friday, Noord-Brabant provincial authorities are expected to decide in favour of a package of new measures to limit ammonia and fine dust emission from livestock. Farmers have been protesting in front of the town hall, reports NOS.
The province is home to more than half of the country’s pigs as well as most chickens and goats, Trouw writes.
According to the provincial authorities, the present rules are not sufficiently protecting the environment and the health of the people living in the province.
One proposal would force farmers to adapt existing stables so less ammonia ends up in the environment. Another would allow a new stable to be built only if a bigger stable elsewhere is removed.
Dierenbescherming, which is normally highly critical of intensive livestock farming and agrees air quality would improve, has said it fears farmers can only limit emissions by insulating their stables and using air washers.
‘An air washer will produce cleaner air but the air quality inside the stable will still be very bad and will affect farmers and animals alike,’ the organisation said in a letter to the provincial authorities. There are also doubts about the efficiency of the air washers.
Dierenbescherming also said the new rules jeopardise its ‘Better Life’ quality label. The Dutch bought €900m worth of products with this label last year. If the measures get the go-ahead the space required for each animal, which is one of the label’s conditions, may not be available. That could lead to a rise in foreign imports of sustainable meat and dairy products, Dierenbescherming warned.
The farmers, who are staging a protest against the new measures on Friday morning, have a different perspective. Farmers’ organisation ZLTO thinks banks will not be prepared to loan farmers the money they need, as a result of the measures.
The concentration of livestock in fewer places will also force ‘hundreds of family firms’ out of business, Trouw quotes a spokesperson as saying.
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