animal holocaust yes or no? Now the people decide

It’s already the city’s second plebiscite in the past two years: in March 2020, the people of Lauingen voted and rejected the creation of an industrial park. Now it comes to an animal incinerator that a nationwide investor from Lower Saxony wants to build on the outskirts of Lauingen.

The Lauinger City Council had already spoken in his favour, but then protests arose: the planned site in particular causes criticism: it is directly opposite the human cemetery.

Critics: The location next to the cemetery is ‘disrespectful’

For members of the Citizens Initiative, this is “unfriendly”. Other people from Lauinger also made similar statements in an interview with BR: If they think about the fact that animals will soon be cremated next to the cemetery where their grandmother lies, they should cry immediately, according to a Lauinger woman.

Others cannot understand it: animals have the same right to a peaceful place as people. Lauingerin says she doesn’t understand why they can’t be next to each other. A dog owner says he would be happy if there was such an opportunity for an animal.

Cremation or recycling of animals: a big difference

In a conversation between BR and some residents of Lauingen, it became apparent that the differences between the so-called animal disposal facility and animal crematoriums are apparently not clear to everyone. Many opponents of animal incinerators fear the stench and see the risk that the operator might incinerate pigs, other farm animals, or even slaughterhouse waste.

But this is forbidden in the animal crematorium. Slaughterhouse and farm animal waste may only be used in a plant that disposes of animal carcasses and treats them into animal meal, for example.

Only small animals are allowed in the crematorium

Only small animals and horses may be cremated in an animal crematorium. Investor Arndt Nietfeld stresses that he wants to give animal owners the opportunity to say goodbye to their animals with dignity. For this reason, many bring their pets to the crematorium in person. Then the animal is placed there and the owners can say goodbye in peace. After the body is cremated, you can take the ashes home with you in an urn.

Citizens’ initiative fears “mass burning”

So most animals will be cremated individually. Meanwhile, the citizens’ initiative assumes that animals will be burned in large numbers at this “industrial animal burning factory”. It comes with 37 tons per week in its calculations.

Investor Arndt Neilfeld replies that this is “imaginative”. So it is not correct to draw conclusions about the number of animals burned from the maximum use of the furnaces. The frightening increase in traffic due to the delivery of animals is also unrealistic.

According to the investor, the citizens’ initiative rejected all compromise proposals, such as dispensing with crematoriums and contentment with cremation of small animals. They also did not accept his invitation to visit one of his companies. A member of the initiative told BR that they don’t have to look at it – they just don’t want an animal incinerator at all.

When burning, it is highly filtered

Nietfeld already runs several animal incinerators, but none in southern Germany. From the outside, the planned building in Lauingen should look similar to the horse crematorium in Badbergen. Inside there should be two furnaces, one for small animals and one for horses. The horses are delivered in closed trucks, unloaded at the premises and prepared for cremation.

What eventually escapes through the chimney during combustion is pre-filtered, and there are strict restrictions on this, without which the company falls, according to the investor. Regular inspections of systems are required, including by TÜV.

The accusation: The system does not bring “added value” to the city.

Citizens Initiative members criticize that the factory will barely create any jobs, and is set to have 15 jobs. Since the company is headquartered in Badbergen, the trade tax is very low and is estimated at around €10,000. Lowingen can use the money urgently: the city is one of the financially weakest municipalities in Swabia, and therefore it also receives stabilization aid.

Possibility to heat the area for 120 beds

According to Mayor Katja Muller, no other investor has been interested in property on the outskirts of the city yet. As investor Arndt Nietfeld reports, restaurants at his crematorium sites also benefit from the facilities: If animal owners bring their animals themselves, they often stay in hotels or go to restaurants or cafes. Criticism was that such a system consumes a lot of energy, replied that a heating line could be built in the area and about 120 households in Lauingen could be heated with residual heat.

Controversial discussion also in social media

All of these things are hotly debated in the city. Many no longer want to express themselves in front of the microphone for fear of hostilities. There is also talk of threatening letters. There is also a heated debate on Facebook, for example.

Opponents, some of whom also appear under pseudonyms, and supporters exchange ideas here. When asked whether they support or oppose the crematorium, many people answer that they support it out of solidarity – precisely because the opponents are so vehement. Now the citizens have a choice: the referendum is scheduled for Sunday.

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