Opinions differ greatly, according to the previous Minister Hans Alders, responsible for leading up this social dialogue during the following six weeks. 1.100 Dutch, over the age of 18, have been surveyed, and for many of them the concept of the mega livestock complexes is not clear.
The definition of the concept forms part of the dialogue, says Alders. If it is a question of surface, mega livestock complexes should have over 1.5 hectares (including an entrance ramp, annexed buildings, etc…). If it is a question of animals, the mega livestock complexes should have more than 250 cows, over 120.000 egg-laying chickens, more than 7.500 fattening pigs or more than 2.760 goats. The Netherlands knows very little about mega livestock complexes; people see cows in the field, but they almost never enter to visit a stable, and the majority of those interviewed give contradicting answers.
The group supporting the mega livestock complexes is significantly larger than the one against the idea. Many of those interviewed were critical of the mega livestock complexes, although they confess to not having a definitive point of view. The most convincing arguments among the interviewees are those related to animal wellbeing and public health.
In the study, the participants were also asked what direction farming should take in the country and over half of the participants believe that large scale installations should be permitted, although under strict regulation when it comes to the landscape, the environment, public health and animal wellbeing, since they would be good for the economy and can help to fulfil the needs of consumers.
Hans Alders will hand over his final report in September (after a closing meeting). The Secretary of State, Bleker, will include this report in his vision of the future of farming, which will be published in September.