Human rights claim against Foston pig farm

A coalition of campaign groups has writen to Derbyshire County Council warning that the proposed pig development at Foston could breach local residents’ human rights.

After seeking legal advice, Friends of the Earth, Foston Community Forum, Pig Business and the Soil Association wrote to the council on Friday (10 February) urging it to refuse planning permission for the proposed development of an industrial scale indoor pig unit, holding 25,000 pigs, at Foston in Derbyshire.

The group claimed that recent research had shown that intensive pig factories of this kind could affect the health of nearby residents, and said this was confirmed by the government’s Health Protection Agency, which said that those living within 150 metres of intensive pig farms “could be exposed to multi-drug resistant organisms”.

Additionally, the letter pointed out that inmates at the Foston Hall prison would not have the option of moving if the development went ahead, and staff would also be forced to work close to the development unless they quit their jobs. It said that by allowing the pig factory to go ahead, the council could also breach inmates’ right to be protected from inhumane treatment.

Dr Victoria Martindale, representative of the Foston Community Forum, said: "As a medical professional I am concerned about the health risks that this proposal will bring to local residents. Those living in the closest vicinity to the proposed site include the most susceptible and at-risk groups, such as children, the elderly and individuals already with known respiratory and other diseases.

“It is not fair to expect the residents of Foston to go about their everyday lives while being forced to continuously breathe in air that will put their and their families’ health at risk.”

Peter Melchett, policy director of the Soil Association, said: “The objections to the pig factory at Foston are mounting all the time, because of the growing weight of new scientific evidence of real risks to the health of local people, and to the staff and inmates of the prison right next door to the proposed site. Now, it seems that the legal rights of local people may also be infringed by the proposed development.”
Tracy Worcester, producer of the Pig Business film, said: “This proposal for a vast intensive pig factory is the wrong direction for British farmers, who need to be protected from cheap imports, not subjected to further unfair competition from subsidised factory farms. The planning committee must listen to the mounting evidence and objections and refuse planning permission. Anyone who does not support this proposal can still make their voice heard by objecting to the County Council.”

Read more:

> Anti super-pig farm campaign launches new drive

> NPA hits out at Soil Association

> Mega-pig farm: EA withdraws objections