Large-scale livestock production can bedefined by referring to industrial livestock farming (fattening,breeding) (equivalent to intensive livestock farming), covering theactivities of livestock breeding, rearing, and fattening at highlyspecialised farms (cattle, swine, poultry farms, etc.) which resemblemore closely industrial settings (enterprises) than agriculturalholdings in organizational, production, and legal terms.

Large-scalelivestock production can be focused either on animals alone (slaughteranimals), or on specific animal products (milk, eggs, skins, furs, etc.)Note that the notion of an ?agricultural holding? is always associatedwith crop production on arable land.The definition of 'agricultural holding' proposed by Poland?s Chief Statistical Office reads: 'Anagricultural holding means an agricultural area, including forests land,buildings or their parts, equipment and stock if they constitute or mayconstitute an organised economic unit as well as rights related torunning a holding'. Ziętara (1998) adopted a similar definition: anagricultural holding means 'a technical and production unit which isseparate in organizational terms and is a combination of threeproduction factors:land, work and capital, focused on the making ofagricultural products'. Both definitions explicitly refer to thepossession and use of land. A large-scale livestock farm can operate aspart of or independently of an agricultural holding and can have noarable land at all.

With respect tothe type of agricultural activities, industrial (large-scale) livestockfarms are focused on livestock rearing and/or breeding dedicated to aspecific species of farmed animals. In terms of their purpose,industrial (large-scale) livestock farms should be consideredagricultural holdings, i.e. independent legal entities, focused on theproduction of marketable products. Although the legal category of an'agricultural enterprise' is missing in the legislation of numerouscountries of the Baltic Sea region, large-scale livestock farms fallinto the category of an ?enterprise? defined in legal acts governing theoperations of this type of businesses.Business activities, i.e.striving for profits while pursuing organized and continuous activities,are inherent to the meaning of an enterprise.Finally, due to the sizeand means of production, large-scale livestock farms can be defined aslarge commercial farms of high stocking density, i.e. highly productivefarms (which market all or major share of their production) focused onmaximizing production and profits generated with the use of largequantities of industrial production means, low work expenditure andhighly concentrated stocking (intensive, industrial agriculturalproduction). Apart from commercial farms, industrial livestockproduction can also take place at fur animal (breeding/rearing) farms,which are not necessarily commercial farms sensu stricto, despite the potentially high stocking density.

Thekey attributes of a large-scale industrial farm are specialisation inlarge-scale livestock production, and the use of professional industrialtechnologies. These technologies are characterised by high stockingdensity, use of balanced mono-diet (mass use of highly calorific feedand feed concentrates), focus on maximum performance, intensificationand high specialisation (low diversification) of production, advancedmechanisation and automation of production processes (feed supply,milking, animal residues removal, transportation, etc.), drive toreducing the production cycle, maintenance of continuous productionlevels and production rhythm, cyclical and modular (branch-specific)production, lower animal welfare standards, and increased energyconsumption.

To recap, large-scale(highly productive, industrial) livestock farms can be defined - inproduction-related terms - as entities (not necessarily agriculturalholdings sensu stricto) which pursue organized, continuous,professional and for-profit production activities consisting inintensive, industrialized large-scale livestock farming, most commonlyoperating as agricultural conglomerates (agro-conglomerates).

Thelegal definition of large-scale livestock farming only impliesenvironmental aspects of intensive livestock industry. The basicdefinition adopted in the EU is stated in the Directive 2010/75/EU ofThe European Parliament and of The Council of 24 November 2010 onindustrial emissions ? IED (substituting Council Directive 96/61/EC of24 September 1996 concerning integrated pollution prevention and control?IPPC Directive). According to this act of law, large-scale livestockfarms (IED/IPPC farms) are defined as installations which operate underan integrated permit, with more than 40 000 places of poultry, or withmore than 2 000 places for grower-finishers (over 30 kg), or with morethan 750 places for sows.

It also important to recall the definition of an 'installation'. According to IED, 'installation'means a stationary technical unit within which one or more activitieslisted in Annex I are carried out, and any other directly associatedactivities on the same site which have a technical connection with theactivities listed, and which could have an effect on emissions andpollution.Note that according to Article 3 para. 6 of the EnvironmentalProtection Law Act of the Republic of Poland, 'installation' is astationary technical unit or a set of stationary technical units whichare technologically combined, the legal title to which belongs to the asingle entity and located within the same site, as well as buildings notbeing technical units or sets of technical units, which can causeemissions.

In 2010, the Baltic MarineEnvironment Protection Commission (HELCOM), also known as the HelsinkiCommission, classified large-scale industrial farms as BalticAgricultural Hot Spots, and, apart from installations indicated in theIPPC Directive, industrial farms are also considered to include cattlefarms with livestock density of over 400 AU (Animal Units; ANNEX VI),which do not fulfil the requirements set forth in Part 2 Annex III tothe Helsinki Convention (ANNEX III).The Land-based Pollution Group (HELCOM LAND) has been advocating to extend the definition of industriallivestock farms to include sheep, goats, horses and fur animalslarge-scale rearing installations with equivalent number of livestock tothe IPPC farms category.

Anotherdefinition of large-scale industrial farms has been established in theAmerican law. The US Environmental Protection Agency uses the term Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) (syn. factory farm, industrial farm, large-scale farm),understood as an animal feeding operation that confines animals formore than 45 days during 12 months in an area that does not producevegetation.There are 3 different CAFO categories distinguished:

In 2010, there were around 238.000 CAFOs in the US (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, 2010).


Federacja Zielonych GAJA
5 Lipca 45, 70-374 Szczecin, Poland
Phone. +48 91 489 42 33
Fax + 48 91 489 42 32

Coalition Clean Baltic
Östra Ågatan 53
SE-753 22 Uppsala, Sweden

Project Industrial animal farms in the Baltic Sea Region - sustainable practices to reduce nutrient loads is a part of a long-term campaign of the Coalition Clean Baltic and Green Federation "GAJA", aiming to reduce the negative impact of large-scale animal production on the environment and local communities in the Baltic Sea Region, particularly by reducing nutrient run-off into the sea. The project is part-financed by the European Union. This website reflects only the view of the Coalition Clean Baltic. The Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME) is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.