BRUSSELS, March 16 (Reuters) – European Union countries agreed on Thursday to try to reduce the number of farms covered by proposed rules to cut pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from livestock, despite criticism from some member states.

Livestock emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, in the EU have barely fallen for more than a decade. To address the problem, member countries and the European Parliament are preparing to negotiate tighter EU limits for farms and factories on waste disposal and other polluting gases such as sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides.

The European Commission, which drafts EU laws, last year proposed that all cattle, pig and poultry farms with over 150 livestock units face the limits – around 184,000 of Europe’s largest farms. But environment ministers from EU member states on Thursday said cattle and pig farms should only be covered if they have at least 350 livestock units – more than doubling the Commission’s threshold,

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