Dutch Official Wants to Limit Size of Factory Farms

Agricultural minister Henk Bleker is proposing a nationwide limit on the number of animals on farms.


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Yesterday, Dutch Minister for Agriculture Henk Bleker submitted a proposal to limit the size of factory farms in the Netherlands, citing his desire to move away from the “mega-farm” model currently dominating the country’s agricultural sector. Though the numbers have yet to be finalized, the new plan would cap the number of livestock on farms—Bleker suggests a maximum of 500 dairy cows, 10,000 pigs, and 240,000 broiler chickens, among other farm animals—and would be enforced as either a law or an industry-wide agreement. “There is no room in the Netherlands for extreme industrial farming,” says Bleker, who has voiced concern about the detrimental effect large factory farms could have on public health. Currently, the Netherlands produces approximately 450 million animals for consumption each year.