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How smelly can a cow be?

How much smell should people living next to farms be expected to endure? In Switzerland, this often contentious point is subject to a raft of guidelines – which are now under review. (SRF,

Officials have stuck their nose into the ongoing conflict between farmers and their residential neighbours, following new research from the Agroscope Institute for Food Sciences.

The Federal Office for Agriculture must once again decide on the reasonable amount of animal odour that someone working at a stable should tolerate. Or how far a chicken coop should be built from a residential area.

The revision of the 22-year-old rule book has been sparked by changing farming methods and the continued encroachment of residential areas on traditional farm land.

Research has revealed an increased tendency to build larger and more open stables and agricultural biogas facilities on farms. This leads to a growing potential for conflict with people living nearby. It is hoped that the overhaul of guidelines will resolve this issue. 

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