Online support for anti mega-pig farm grows
Published:  12 July, 2011

An online petition protesting against the controversial plans for a mega-pig farm in Derbyshire has attracted more than 6,500 signatures.

The petition marks a step-up in the ongoing campaign against Midland Pig Producers’ (MPP) plans for a farm in Foston which would house up to 2,500 sows and 20,000 piglets on a 30-acre site adjacent to Foston Prison. The campaigners say the pig farm would open up the UK to US-style factory farms.

A decision from Derbyshire County Council had been expected on 20 July, but is now looking unlikely to happen before September.

During an open meeting in Burton-on-Trent last month, locals voiced their concerns about how their quality of life would be affected by the inevitable smells and noise pollution, and how the transportation of 1,000 pigs a week to slaughter would affect traffic in the area. Many people also expressed concerns about the potential health implications, with intensive farming and the routine use of antibiotics, following the recent new stories connecting MRSA and E.coli.

However, the National Pig Association (NPA) has hit back at these claims, saying that it is not possible to draw parallels between the US-style farms and the proposed MPP farm. NPA chairman Barney Kay pointed out the high welfare standards of the UK pig industry and said that the farm – which would include cutting-edge technology to minimise its carbon footprint and provide excellent welfare for the animals – provided a way to increase the quantity of pigs reared to high welfare standards and displace low-welfare imported pigmeat.

A spokesman for Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) said: “These proposed standards offer the potential for the pigs to have a higher quality of life than many of their counterparts in other UK and EU farms.”  However, he added that the CIWF believed developing large-scale units was a "wrong-turn" for farming.

The campaign has been spearheaded by activists and film-makers, Pig Business, and supported by The Soil Association.

>Pig campaigners stage Tescos protest

>NPA hits out at anti super-pig farm campaign

>Mega-pig farm plan criticised

>Midland Pig Producers submits pig unit plans