Intensive Livestock Farming and Residential Health: Experts’ Views

  • Author: Eijrond, Claassen, Van Der Giessen & Timmermans
  • Journal: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
  • Issue: 19
  • Volume: 16
  • Pages:


The presence of intensive livestock farms in close vicinity to residential areas in the Netherlands is a complex problem characterised by knowledge uncertainty about the effects on residential health, overlapping value-driven concerns and stakeholder diversity. In order to address concerns about the health effects and effectively manage the debate about intensive livestock farming, constructive stakeholder dialogues are encouraged, informed by current scientific insights. We explored the current knowledge, beliefs and concerns of scientific experts, following the mental models approach. A summary expert model was derived from scanning the relevant literature and informed by interviews with 20 scientific experts. The study shows imprecise use of terminology by experts. Moreover, they appear to perceive intensive livestock farming not as a major health problem at least at this moment for neighbouring residents in the Netherlands. Broader themes such as (environmental) unsustainability and biodiversity loss seem a more prominent concern among the experts. Our study questions whether dialogues should only focus on residential health or cover broader values and concerns. However, mental models about risk may differ with other stakeholders, impeding communication. Hence, we will identify other stakeholders’ knowledge, beliefs and value-based concerns in the light of facilitating constructed dialogues between stakeholders.