Positive news! 10,000 bunnies spared as Buckinghamshire Council refuses rabbit farm plans

Posted on the 14th May 2021

Plans for a rabbit farm in Amersham, Buckinghamshire have been refused by Buckinghamshire Council following a sustained national campaign, hundreds of objections were submitted online to the official plans, including an extensive objection by Animal Aid. 87,901 people signed the Change.org petition against the development, which was started by local resident Rebecca Nicholson. She was also interviewed on BBC Three Counties Radio about the issue, saying she did not believe “rabbits are meat”. She told presenter Andy Collins: “In this day and age with so many people becoming vegetarian or vegan, there just isn’t a demand for [rabbit meat].”

As many of you will no doubt be aware, a rabbit farm franchiser T&S Rabbits submitted plans to build a temporary rural worker’s house and agricultural building on land on Magpie Lane, in Coleshill, near Amersham in Buckinghamshire. The house would have allowed a worker to be on site under the premiss of acting as round the clock security and safeguarding the rabbits incarcerated on site. It was to be a 250-doe, ‘free-range’ rabbit production unit, occupying around two acres of the site, which was to be gradually expanded over the next three years. Ultimately, the farm would have expended to hold around 10,000 rabbits, being bred and exploited for their meat, fur or sold live for unknown purposes.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to help campaign against these dreadful proposals. Rabbits should not be turned into gaudy fur hats or oven-ready meat products. They are friends, not food or clothing items. The decision may still be appealed, and we will update you if this is the case.

This announcement comes hot on the heels of the decision by Cornwall Council to refuse plans for a rabbit farm on a site in Mylor Bridge on the grounds of sustainability.

Buckinghamshire Council’s Planning Officers said in a letter, dated May 11, that they were refusing the plans, writing: “Consequently, the proposal constitutes inappropriate development in the Green Belt, which is harmful by definition”. Planning Officers also added that the ecological information submitted was “inadequate to allow for the satisfactory assessment of the proposal’s impact on ecology and wildlife, in particular, protected species”.

To see the full reasons for refusal, visit www.chiltern.gov.uk/viewplanningapplications with reference PL/21/0130/FA.

 

Tiny hutch

Our investigators visited another of T&S Rabbits established sites at Atlow, Derbyshire and were horrified at conditions there. (hot link https://www.animalaid.org.uk/stoprabbitfarms/)

This operation claimed to be ‘free-range’ conditions, but our investigators discovered rabbits in barren, individual hutches, unable to socialise and with no free access to the outside. Our investigators never saw rabbits out of their hutches over multiple visits. The 47 hutches there appeared to remain closed, with no sign of access ramps down to the grass below. A lack of exercise is emotionally and physically damaging to rabbits.

The rabbits have very limited room to move and stretch, and these small hutches do not allow space for the large breed (New Zealand White) rabbits to sit upright with ears up, or to rear up – a natural stance for these prey animals to scout around for danger. What miserable lives must these poor rabbits endure in the name of profit. We reported our findings to the authority who took our complaint very seriously and were keen to send a veterinarian inspector out to the site to check on the health and welfare of the captives.

We continue to campaign against similar plans for a site in Lyndon Top, Rutland, which is by scenic Rutland Water, a prime spot for keen birders and home to many wildlife species. A staggering 108,912 have signed the Change Petition for Rutland.

Please visit this page to add your name and see full guidance about how to make an objection

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