22 November 2011
Midlands Pig Producers Limited has applied for planning permission to create the biggest factory farm of pigs so far in Britain, a piggery that will house around 25,000 pigs in Foston Derby. Surrounded by barbed wire fences, the massive complex would imprison sows that would never go outside. The farm is due to be situated on a beautiful Greenfield site, next to the historic village of the same name (see plan) and will produce a thousand pigs a week, which will be transported off-site to slaughter. That's 48,000 pigs a year!
Plans for the pig farm have attracted thousands of objections, including several well known names such as actor Dominic West (The Wire, The Hour), citing a range of concerns including noise, odour and the effect on small-scale farms, while animal rights campaigners protested about welfare issues outside South Derbyshire District Council offices in Swadlincote.
Animal welfare group Viva commented "Have we learnt nothing from swine flu, bird flu, SARS (severe viral pneumonia) etc in the way we treat animals? Situating a massive intensive farm this close to people (the nearest house is just 20 metres away from the perimeter fence) could be asking for trouble. Not least the use of a huge anaerobic digester to process around 15 million litres of slurry a year. These digesters are designed to produce energy and reduce smell, but can actually be a source of smell, noise and - in the worst case scenario - toxic gases and even fire and explosions."
A spokesman for anti-factory farming campaigners Pig Business, said: "Intensive mega-piggeries such as the one being proposed in Foston for 25,000 pigs are not the direction in which British farming should be heading.
"There has been overwhelming local opposition, with over 13,000 objections and 10,000 people signing our online petition."
David Foster of Derby and East Midlands Green Parties, said "Pigs are intelligent and social animals that naturally enjoy routing and foraging in woodland for food. To keep these animals in concrete pens (roughly 8 ft. square) where they don't normally see the light of day in the interest of returning a greater profit is nothing short of cruel, and not the way East Midlands Green Party would like to see food production in the country to go.
"Because these animals are kept in such confined quarters and as an aid to growth and earlier maturity these animals are routinely given antibiotics. We are objecting to the development on the grounds that regular use of antibiotics creates superbugs such as MRSA and reduces the NHS's arsenal against bacteria.
"Although a petition against the piggery is already in existence we intend to assist the established campaigners by carrying out a local survey in Foston and neighbouring Scropton and we will be collecting signatures in Derby City centre, provisionally on the 3rd December 2011. If you would be interested in helping with this please contact me by email or telephone 0791 453 7589."
Please object to Derbyshire County Council online by using this webform, email firstname.lastname@example.org write to the Strategic Director of Environmental Services at Derbyshire County Council, Shand House, Dale Road South, Matlock, Derbyshire, DE4 3RY
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