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Air scrubber duty for German pig farms

Mandatory airwashers for pig farms throughout the whole of Germany – that is what the German authorities are aiming for. Currently 3 German states require farms of certain sizes to have air scrubbers.

The German Federal ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety is preparing new nationwide legislation.

Three states with mandatory air scrubbers

At the moment, three states have made the air scrubbers mandatory, being Schleswig Holstein, Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia.

These are three of the country's major pig states, and subsequently, these states also house the most surrounding industries as well as meatpackers, like e.g. Tönnies and Danish Crown. Currently, in these states politicians prevail with a strong green environmental background.

Applicable to larger pig farms

The new law for mandatory nationwide air scrubbers is aimed to be accepted by German Parliament in mid-2017. On the basis of what is known right now, the law will apply to larger pig farms, i.e. those that need a so-called emission permit because of their size.

This comes down to pig houses with over 2,000 finisher pig capacity or over 750 sow capacity. In addition, pig houses having a capacity of 6,000 weaner pigs or more should have this permit. Air scrubbers need installing not only in new pig houses or those that will be expanded. The law would also apply to already existing pig houses.

You may also be interested in this article: Can Germany's pig industry still smile?

Environmental benefits of air scrubbers

The announced legislation is stricter than the laws in the 3 states currently already having air scrubber legislation. The German pig producers organisation (ISN) is unhappy with the plans.

Reacting to the news from Berlin, the organisation has commented what kind of environmental benefits have been the result of the mandatory air scrubbers. It only resulted in money spending and loads of efforts, ISN stated.

The organisation also points to the fact that it will be financially impossible to retrofit air scrubbers. "We feel that the ministry will have to encourage research as well as efficiency measures to reduce emissions." ISN also says that mandatory installation will also meant that local circumstances will not play any role at all.

Wim Verseput

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