The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) said it has decided to reject an appeal heard during the August 7-9 NFPA Standards Council meeting that called for sprinkler systems in facilities housing agricultural animals.  The appeal from animal rights groups involved possible changes to NFPA 150, Animal Housing Facilities. NFPA 150 currently requires sprinkler protection for Category A animals, comprised of mostly dangerous animals, such as zoo animals and reptiles, but not Category B animals, which are essentially agricultural animals.

A group of 14 animal rights organizations, including the Humane Society of the United States, United Poultry Concerns, and PETA, appealed the June 2012 decision by the NFPA 150 Technical Committee to reject a proposal that would have expanded the scope of NFPA 150 to include all animal housing. The Standards Council rejected the appeal from the animal rights groups, which would have required automatic fire sprinkler and smoke control systems in all new animal housing facilities, including chicken and layer houses and turkey barns. The animal rights groups argued that confined poultry and livestock that are exposed to fire could experience “pain, terror, and suffering.”

A coalition of 17 animal agriculture groups, including the National Chicken Council, U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, National Turkey Federation, National Pork Producers Council, and United Egg Producers, represented the interest of animal agriculture during this process. Appearing on behalf of animal agriculture at the Standards Council meeting were Paul Pressley of U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, Michael Formica of the National Pork Producers Council and Tom Hebert, representing United Egg Producers. The coalition explained that installing and maintaining sprinkler systems would be very costly, impractical in many cases, and  dangerous in the event of an electrical fire.

 A copy of the Standards Council decision is available here.