Cabinet Advice: Smaller livestock farms to combat disease

The number of livestock farms in the Netherlands should be reduced and the farms that remain should be reduced in size. This is necessary to prevent the spread of diseases that are transmitted between humans and animals. That is the core of an opinion from a group of experts at the demissionary cabinet, which ministers Van Ark and Schouten write the House of Representatives.

The experts were put to work following the corona pandemic. Even though it is likely that a next outbreak is not taking place within the Netherlands, more far-reaching measures must be taken in our country too, the experts say.

Livestock farms need to be much less close to each other to prevent diseases from one company to another, experts say. But more research is needed to indicate how much less precise, they write.

They also advise the Cabinet not to allow new poultry farms in areas where waterfowl are present. The number of existing companies in such areas should be reduced as much as possible.

The researchers also advocate that the vaccination of animals is further investigated and stimulated.

Strong Impact

Van Ark and Schouten speak of โ€œfirm recommendationsโ€ that have a โ€œbig impactโ€. โ€œAt the same time, public health is always paramount and the government concludes that the risk of spreading zoonoses is an additional and important reason to look carefully at the integration of livestock farming in the rural area,โ€ said Schouten and Van Ark.

โ€œIn shaping policies on nitrogen, climate, soil and water quality, the zoonoses risk will also need to be taken into account as an important factor,โ€ the ministers conclude. Ultimately, its up to a new cabinet to implement measures or not, says a Ministry of Agriculture spokesperson.