Mega pig farm to house 25k animals in metal sheds 24hrs a day

Tony Gosling tony at
Tue Apr 19 18:31:17 BST 2011

Mega farms could drive hundreds of UK farms out of business

Fears over gigantic pig farm to house 25,000 
animals in metal sheds 24 hours a day
By David Derbyshire - 18th April 2011 -
A gigantic ‘pig factory’ where 25,000 sows and 
piglets will be housed in vast metal sheds round the clock is being planned.
The controversial complex will send 1,000 pigs to 
slaughter every week – enough to make 56million sausages a year.
The industrial-scale farm planned for Foston, 
Derbyshire, would be one of the largest of its kind in the UK.
Animal campaigners warn that it could drive 
hundreds of traditional family farms out of 
business and herald a wave of American-style 
‘mega-farms’. There are also concerns about the 
welfare of animals raised in such artificial conditions.
Plans for the 30-acre complex have been submitted 
to Derbyshire County Council and are now open for consultation.
The company behind the farm, Midland Pig 
Producers, owns 30 farms in eight countries and 
produces more than 100,000 pigs a year.
It came under fire earlier this year for 
threatening opponents who criticised the plans 
with a hugely expensive libel action.
It says the factory will not smell, and that the 
welfare of the animals will be a priority.
Plans for the UK’s first mega-dairy housing up to 
8,000 cows in Nocton, Lincolnshire, were shelved in February after protests.
The Soil Association, which campaigns for organic 
farming, said hundreds of farmers could be driven 
out of business if mega-farms came to Britain and 
flooded the market with cheap milk and meat.
Policy director Peter Melchett said: ‘Developers 
claim they’re meeting public demand, but it’s 
wrong to say the British public are demanding 
that cows must be kept inside throughout the 
months they are milked, or that mother pigs 
should spend their entire lives shut up inside a factory.’
Simon Pope of the World Society for the 
Protection of Animals said: ‘We know from America 
that the real cost of food produced in factory 
farms is poor animal welfare, pollution and the 
economic death knell for thousands of small scale farmers.
‘That cannot be something we sleepwalk into 
accepting here. If we do, it’s difficult to see 
how the British countryside and our traditional 
rural communities will ever be the same again.’
A spokesman for Midland Pig Producers said: ‘In 
order for UK farming companies to compete with 
meat imported from abroad – which is not produced 
to the high UK welfare standards – they must be economically effective.
‘We have repeatedly stressed that animal welfare 
is our top priority and our plans for the Foston 
site are to the highest possible specification. 
These plans have been inspected by some of the 
most highly respected animal welfare groups who 
have not raised any objections.’

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