Factory farmed pigs

European Parliament Votes for Watered-Down Environmental Legislative Act

FOUR PAWS calls the decision “disappointing” and “regressive”


Strasbourg/Vienna, 11 July 2023 – The European Parliament has just voted to pass a “watered-down” and “weakened” Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) due to its exclusion of cattle farming from the scope of the directive, one of the most polluting agricultural sectors.

Global animal welfare organisation, FOUR PAWS, called the decision “disappointing” and “regressive”

Miguel Ángel Zhan Dai, Climate Policy Officer at FOUR PAWS says, “To vote to exclude cattle farming and for lowering the obligations of intensive farming installations constitutes a regression in environmental protection.

“Industrial livestock is a major contributor to air, water and soil pollution causing damage to human health as well as to the environment. Without healthy ecosystems, we can't achieve climate and biodiversity goals or protect public health. The IED falls short of delivering the maximum outcome for all three, therefore lacking in its ambition."

“Animal farming produces 53% of methane in the EU. Factory-scale pig and poultry farms have been included previously but it only covers 18% of ammonia and 3% of EU agricultural methane emissions.

“Last year an impact assessment by the European Commission estimated a health and environmental benefit of €5.5bn per year across the EU if there is lower ammonia and methane emissions."

Miguel Ángel Zhan Dai, FOUR PAWS Climate Policy Officer

Zhan Dai concluded, “The Parliament has shown that it will not take action to address industrial livestock, failing to protect animal welfare and mitigating the enormous environmental damage brought by this major sector. The EU must lead by example and has failed today to do so in addressing key concerns as well as taking the correct the first step towards addressing a highly polluting sector that, for too long, has been given a free pass.”

The European Parliament also failed to adopt less strict obligations for the few pigs and poultry installations included in the current IED marking it an immense missed opportunity for the European Union to act on its climate commitments while reneging on environmental protections.

The division over the IED adds to the major rifts over the past month in EU institutions over environmental proposals, including the Nature Restoration Law and the watering down of the 

European Commission's proposal on Soil Law

The controversy on the IED had already seen started back in April when the Agriculture Committee introduced this dilution of the existing rules when passing it at this stage.

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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 and friends, the organisation advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding. The sustainable campaigns and projects of FOUR PAWS focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and wild animals – such as bears, big cats and orangutans – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA and Vietnam as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in eleven countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions. www.four-paws.org

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