Animal Aid

Help Stop Plans for Britain's Largest Intensive Pig Farm

Posted 12 April 2011

A company called Midland Pig Producers (MPP) has submitted plans to Derbyshire County Council for, as far as we know, Britain's largest pig factory farm. If this proposal is given the go ahead, it will subject around 25,000 animals to a life of permanent confinement, suffering and boredom. The farm intends to produce one thousand pigs a week who will be transported off site to slaughter.

Assurances of high animal welfare are meaningless rhetoric; the truth is quite different, as seen in undercover footage Animal Aid has taken at two existing MPP farms. Although MPP claim that they will be using farrowing crates in which the sows can turn around, a crate is still a crate. These mothers will be denied their instincts to build a nest, nurse their young and interact freely with them in a natural environment.

The company's managing director and man behind this proposal has been voted Pig Farmer of the Year 2009. MPP has stated that their factory farms are preferable to animals being outside and want to create a 'revolutionary ideal housing template' that could eventually be adopted by all. A farm of this scale could, therefore, set a worrying precedent for the further intensification of the UK animal farming industry. With resources (land, energy and water) becoming increasingly scarce, it makes far more sense to start moving towards a more sustainable, plant-based agricultural system than further intensification of farmed animals who compete for resources.

Foston pig farm is due to be situated right next to the historic village of the same name (on a beautiful Greenfield site) right next door to a women's prison. (See the MPP website to view plans) If this proposal goes ahead it will set a precedent for similar animal prisons across the UK. Please act now! Deadline for submissions is 13th May 2011.

Please note: although we feel very strongly about the impact of such a development upon the welfare of the pigs, animal welfare is currently not taken into consideration by the planning services. So although it is important to mention it, please also include other points such as environmental pollution, increased traffic, noise etc - for further points to add, see Animal Aid's official objection letter.

Take Action:

  • Email your objection to Derbyshire County Council or submit online here.
  • Send your written objections to: Ian Stephenson, Strategic Director - Environmental Services, Derbyshire County Council, Shand House, Dale Road South, Matlock, Derbyshire, DE4 3RY
  • Watch undercover footage taken at two existing MPP farms
  • Send for a FREE Guide to Going Veggie
  • Tell your friends on Facebook and Twitter
  • Suggested objection letter

    Dear Mr Stephenson

    Planning Application - CW9/0311/174

    I am writing to register my objection to the intensive pig farm proposed by Midland Pig Producers (MPP) on land at Foston, South Derbyshire.

    Animal welfare
    I realise that animal welfare is not a planning consideration, but believe it should be considered in this instance, as your decision could set a worrying precedent for the further intensification of the UK animal farming industry. As far as I am aware, this will be the largest factory farm to date in Britain - incarcerating around 25,000 animals at any one time and sending a thousand a week to slaughter.

    Risk to human health
    Crowding animals into unnatural conditions provides the perfect breeding ground for viruses and bacteria. These intensive systems of animal agriculture threaten both the global environment and public health. Pigs are highly intelligent and sociable animals who need stimulation and the opportunity to carry out their natural instincts, such as foraging and nursing their young. The stress from living in crowded conditions makes these animals more vulnerable to infection. Disease can be spread to the wider community via many routes - including through contaminated water, and even through farm workers and their families.

    Anaerobic digester
    I am aware that an anaerobic digester will be used to process the animal waste - harnessing energy by removing the methane and producing an odourless fertiliser as a by-product, which will be sold to neighbouring farms. However, it is my understanding that anaerobic digesters can themselves produce smells and toxic gases. They can pose a risk of fire, or worse, explosion, putting surrounding properties and residential communities at risk.

    Risks to the environment
    On farms the size of the proposed, it is an almost certainty that the animals will need to be fed antibiotics in an attempt to keep them healthy within the unnatural and crowded conditions in which they will be forced to live. I am aware that anaerobic digesters do not completely remove antibiotics from the pigs’ waste and am therefore concerned about the implications for the human food supply if waste from this farm is applied as fertiliser on locally grown crops, as plants have the ability to absorb antibiotics from soils.

    I hope that you will take my views into consideration and reject plans for an MPP farm at Foston.

    Yours sincerely

    [Sign your name]

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