Foston Mega-piggery – update.

UK Company, Midland Pig Producers (MPP) is applying (application CW9/0311/174) to build an indoor pig factory farm on a green field site near the village of Foston, South Derbyshire. If the plans are approved it would be one of the largest factory farms in the UK, containing 2,500 mother pigs (sows) and around 25,000 pigs, with 1,000 going for slaughter each week.

The County Council’s decision whether or not to give permission for this development has been postponed as the Council await more evidence on odour and noise to be submitted by Midland Pig Producers.

In responding to a national campaign against intensive pig units by Pig Business, the developers, claimed that objectors were mostly from outside the area, and that there was no serious local opposition to the proposal.  Derbyshire Greens did not believe this and we decided to go and ask residents of both Foston and neighbouring Scropton what they thought.  David Foster organised a doorstep survey and went off to find out local opinion.  In all David and his team of surveyors spoke to 67 people, 85% of whom said that they were opposed to factory farming.  Of those, 65 were meat eaters and 97% of these agreed that it was important for farm animals to be reared in a humane way, 95% of them saying that they would be prepared to pay a little more for this.

In addition to the moral issue of animal welfare, the campaign against mega animal units believes that they can pose a threat to human health, and also to traditional methods of farming and the employment that these provide. 79% of people questioned shared our concern about the human health implications of factory farming.  87% agreed that such huge scale animal units did pose a threat to traditional farming.

From this, we conclude that the people likely to be most affected by the Foston development do have concerns about these mega units.  Their concerns can’t be dismissed as ‘nimbyism’, they are concerned about the welfare of farm animals, and they do want to see humane methods of animal husbandry.  In this they aren’t alone, a 2006 survey of public opinion about animal welfare carried out by ‘Eurobarometer’ for the European Commission found that a majority of consumers rated this as an important issue with 63% of respondents saying that it would influence their purchasing preference.

The Green Party is pledged to end factory farming.  We regard it as unsustainable and morally indefensible.  We believe that the five freedoms of the Animal Welfare Act, 2007 should apply to farm animals.  These freedoms are:

  • Freedom from hunger and thirst,
  • Freedom from discomfort
  • Freedom from pain, injury and disease
  • Freedom to behave normally
  • Freedom from fear and distress

We contend that intensive animal units are incompatible with these freedoms accorded to pet animals in law.  To us, it is perverse to deny them to those animals who happen to be classified as farm animals.

If you don’t want to see massive US-scale pig factories entering the UK, then make your voice heard by registering your opposition directly to the planners on the Derbyshire County Council website.

For more information and sample letters of objection, go to the Pig Business website,

Note that objections based on animal welfare issues will be ruled as invalid by the planners.  Grounds for objection include loss of visual amenity, smell, noise, and the impact of traffic.  It is worth mentioning regional issues such as loss of jobs in traditional farming and the fact that such massive developments are unsustainable and have a high carbon footprint.

You can also make your voice heard through the Pig Business online petition:

The most important thing you can do is to always buy from ethical sources

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