Protests Over Mega Dairy

UK - A plan to build an 8,000 cow dairy in Lincolnshire has come under attack from the public and animal welfare groups.
calendar icon 3 March 2010
clock icon 2 minute read

With the consultation period now in full swing, over 250 comments have been made on the local planning authorities website - the majority of which are objections on animal welfare grounds.

Despite the application promising the highest environmental and animal welfare standards ever seen in the UK, members of the public who have voiced their opinion are not convinced.

Comments from the general public include: "The promise of high animal welfare and environmental standards is a smokescreen for what is essentially a money making development."

"Cows incarcerated within normal size dairy herds, of around 120 animals, already suffer extreme pain, distress and discomfort on the average UK dairy farm."

Despite the majority of public objections concerning animal welfare, Phillip Rowston from North Kesteven Council says that objections on grounds of animal welfare will not be considered due to planning law - welfare is the responsibility of DEFRA and other bodies.

Reading Agricultural Consultants has said they are still confident that the application will go through, confirming that the proposed farm will have the highest standards of biosecurity and welfare.

A spokesman for the firm said that similar sized farms in US were visited and a number of lessons learnt.

The company has also offered to speak to Compassion In World Farming (CIWF) who has opposed the application. As of yet no discussions have taken place between the two but Reading Agricultural Consultants is hopeful that CIWF will be in touch soon.

The application appears to have the support of the industry.

The National Farmers' Union (NFU) chief dairy adviser Hayley Campbell-Gibbons said: “Given the lack of confidence and the underinvestment that has plagued the dairy industry in recent years it’s an imaginative and positive response for a group of farmers to invest in such a large and specialist unit in Lincolnshire.

“It is important to remember housed systems pose no risk to the health and welfare of the animals. In fact, it would be cruel not to house cows at certain times of year, particularly during periods of bad weather.”

Tom Rabbetts, technical adviser at the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers also said that it is a positive sign that a group of farmers are willing to invest so much money into the industry.

"With the correct management I cannot see that any problems will arise with regard to welfare and biosecurity."

It is hoped a provisional planning meeting will take place on the 27th April, with further information expected to be published the week before that.

Further Reading

- For more information on the proposal go to our previous news item on this story by clicking here.

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