Livestock odours and quality of life of neighbouring residents

Ann Agric Environ Med. 2004;11(1):59-62.


Neighbours of intensive livestock production facilities frequently complain of odour annoyance. They are also concerned about potential negative health effects of environmental exposures to livestock emissions. Quality of life (QoL) was assessed in residents of a rural community neighbouring an area with high concentration of animal farms. A postal cross-sectional survey was carried out among the 4,537 residents, aged 18-44 years. Of these, 3,112 (69 %) responded to questions on annoyance by livestock odours (4-point scale), on QoL (assessed by the short form 12, SF-12), and on potential confounders (age, gender, respiratory symptoms, smoking, living on or close to a farm, and employment status). SF-12 scores were available for 2745 (88 %) subjects. Sixty-one percent of the respondents complained about unpleasant odours, 91 % of these accused livestock as source of these odours. Physical and emotional SF-12 scores were inversely related to annoyance scores. Better risk communication might improve QoL in concerned neighbours of intensive livestock production facilities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Animals, Domestic*
  • Attitude to Health
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Environmental Illness / etiology*
  • Environmental Illness / psychology
  • Female
  • Fertilizers
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Odorants*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Rural Population* / statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Fertilizers