This week, Nocton Dairies Ltd is expected to re-submit its planning application to North Kesteven District Council, for what would be the biggest dairy in the UK with thousands of cows housed indoors, with limited access to grass outside.
Journalists were briefed at a private meeting hosted by Nocton Dairies on the morning of 17 November 2010.
The Nocton Dairies announcement
This week Nocton Dairies says it will announce changes to its planning application which could even include a reduction in the number of cows.
Compassion remains deeply opposed. Joyce D'Silva, Director of Public Affairs, Compassion in World Farming, said:
"Even if they cut the number of cows by 4,000, it's still bad news for the 4,000 remaining cows who will spend most of their lives indoors, without access to proper grazing and being treated more like processing units in a factory, than sentient beings."
Why Compassion opposes the 'mega dairy'
Compassion's campaign site Cows belong in Fields has built a strong supporter base over the previous months as a source of factual information on animal welfare, environmental and socio-economic problems for the people of Lincolnshire and the British public.
Access to grazing in suitable weather is important for the animals' health and wellbeing. High-yielding dairy cows are at an increased risk of health problems such as lameness, mastitis, infertility, loss of body condition and ultimately a reduced lifespan.
Nocton Dairies could have serious consequences for the environment and the local area. There is a risk that plans to spread slurry and/or digestate could contaminate the local water supply through run-off and infiltration into the porous limestone above the aquifer. Local residents are concerned about an increase in the amount of flies, odours and heavy goods lorries in the area.
Future of British Farming
Producing milk on this large scale risks driving the price of a pint down to levels that most small farmers can't compete with. Compassion estimate that Nocton Dairies could put up to 100 small dairy farms out of business.
Celebrity support for this campaign
Our 'Cows Belong in Fields' campaign has attracted a number of celebrity supporters including:
- Compassion's patron, Joanna Lumley
- William Roache ('Ken Barlow' in Coronation Street)
- Mary McCartney
- Jo Brand
- Bill Oddie
- Zac Goldsmith (MP)
- Caroline Lucas (MP)
- Marc Abrahams (celebrity vet)
- Nathalie Cox (actress)
- Liza Goddard (actress)
The political campaign
On October 26th 2010, 51 MPs attended a briefing co-hosted by Compassion and the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) to draw their attention to the threatening implications of mega-dairies.
This event also engaged with politicians on how they can take action against this and other types of factory farming of animals.
The briefing prompted several MP's who attended to ask challenging questions in the House about the appropriateness and implications of bringing US-style factory farming to the UK.
Compassion, which played a key role in achieving UK bans on the notorious narrow veal crate (1990) and the confinement of sows in narrow crates throughout their pregnancies (1999), continues to support and work closely with the local Nocton Dairies opposition group CAFFO (Campaign Against Factory Farming Operations).
Our work would not be possible without you
Hundreds of Compassion's supporters, concerned about the spectre of factory farming in the UK, raised enough money to pay for advertisements on the exterior of a fleet of buses in the Lincolnshire area displaying the message 'Say No to the Mega-Dairy' and 'Cows Belong in Fields'.
Joyce D'Silva Director of Public Affairs said:
"The public have spoken. When Nocton Dairies first submitted its plans, the public outcry was such that it forced the withdrawal of the application. Opposition to the new plans is, if anything, greater than before. Surveys show that the public care about where their food comes from and how it is produced. They do not want milk from battery cows anymore than they wanted eggs from battery hens."
We believe that farm animals should not and need not suffer
If you agree, please support us today. Your donation could help end all forms of farm animal cruelty and help us stop factory farming in its tracks. We receive no government funding so rely entirely on the generosity of our supporters to prevent cruelty to farm animals all over the world.