The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) along with a number of other livestock and poultry organizations, has appealed the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) technical committee's recommendation to set new standards for animal housing.

The NFPA recommendation (NFPA 150 Amendment), would require the instillation of sprinklers and smoke control systems in all animal housing facilities, including livestock barns, together with quarterly inspections. It is estimated the cost would be in the “tens of billions of dollars” for producers nationwide to comply, according to NPPC.

The appeal questions NFPA’s process for failing to provide an adequate opportunity for stakeholder participation, the standard’s overbroad and impractical nature and the health and biosecurity issues that likely would arise because of the standard’s inspection requirement.

Meanwhile, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) was critical of the NPPC appeal. "A fire  which killed an estimated 2,000 pigs last week in Benton, Kan. is a tragedy that could have been prevented or minimized if sprinklers had been installed in the massive building," according to an HSUS press release. "The fire comes days after successful lobbying efforts by the NPPC to squash efforts by the National Fire Prevention Association that would have mandated sprinklers in newly constructed animal housing facilities."

Other reasons for the appeal cited by NPPC include:

  • Overall lack of due process in the development of the standard and failure to provide any reasonable form of effective notice, or opportunity for input or comment, by the vast majority of impacted stakeholders;
  • The overbroad nature of the NFPA 150 amendment which will impact all production livestock and poultry facilities without any evidence before the NFPA of any issues with fire in animal housing facilities outside a few horse stables;
  • The tremendous economic impact the NFPA 150 amendment will have on livestock and poultry production in the United States without any corresponding benefits associated with the amendment to livestock and poultry production;
  • The physical impracticability for significant majorities of livestock and poultry producers to find sufficient sources of water to achieve the amended NFPA 150 standard; and
  • The tremendous risk of real harm to animal health and biosecurity of livestock and poultry production facilities that the amended NFPA 150 and corresponding NFPA 25 inspection standards require.

In addition to this notice of intent to appeal, (the groups) are also officially requesting an opportunity to present the appeal in person, before the Standard Council during its scheduled meeting Aug. 7 through Aug. 9, when the appeal will be heard.