The Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) has sought an amendment to the industrial emissions directive, stating that the proposal in its current form is totally over the top and targets relatively small poultry and pig farmers.

IFA poultry chair Nigel Sweetnam, IFA pig chair Roy Gallie and IFA poultry vice-chair Brendan Soden travelled to Brussels this week, urging Irish MEPs to support a proposed amendment to the directive.

It seeks to revert the directive back to the European Parliament's original position before the trilogue negotiations took place with the European Commission and the European Council.

Without this amendment, the directive would bring very small pig and poultry units into a scenario where they needed a full EPA licence, the IFA warned.

Currently, pig farms with more than 275 sows integrated and layer farmers with more than 40,000 birds require a licence.

‘Illogical’ legislation

The IFA has said that the proposed new requirement would mean that pig farmers with 94 sows and layer farms with 21,000 birds would require a licence under the same directive as a chemical factory.

Sweetnam said the move is typical of the type of illogical EU legislation that is angering farmers.

“This legislation was intended for ‘industrial-scale activities’ not for relatively small poultry farmers,” Sweetnam said.

Roy Gallie said that proposal will put smaller pig farmers out of business.

“Requiring family-run pig farms to have a full licence will put more pressure on smaller producers who will not be able to afford the cost of applying for and maintaining a licence,” he said.

Organic eggs

Brendan Soden said that the directive, as it is currently proposed, would even apply to organic egg producers.

“Licensing brings a complex application process which would incur professional fees and application fees. The whole thing is crazy and the parliament must accept this amendment,” Soden said.