The Soil Association has received a warning from the libel lawyers of Midland Pig Producers (MPP). This follows the Soil Association's strong objection to MPP's proposed factory farm at Foston. The proposed farm would keep up to 2,500 breeding sows and up to 25,000 pigs and piglets indoors.
The Guardian newspaper reports that libel lawyers acting for the company behind a proposal for a large-scale pig farm have written to organic farmers' body, The Soil Association, about its planning objection last year.
The planning application from Midland Pig Producers (MPP) for a large-scale farm in Foston, Derbyshire would see 2,500 breeding sows and up to 25,000 pigs and piglets kept indoors.
MPP's original planning application was withdrawn, but the company is expected to resubmit the proposal in the coming weeks. The trend towards large-scale industrialised farming is of great concern.
Compassion's high profile campaign, Cows Belong in Fields against 'mega-dairies' is drawing attention to the animal welfare, environmental and public health consequences that all too often come with huge factory farms.
Compassion is also opposed to large-scale industrial pig and poultry units.
The proposed pig farm in Foston
Regarding Foston, if the proposal does not address fundamental welfare issues, Compassion's legal team is gearing up to lodge a strong objection when the planning proposal is resubmitted.
Pigs have long suffered hugely from factory farming. The campaign to dismantle pig factory farming is making progress, with, for example, the European ban from 2013 on keeping pregnant pigs in narrow sow stalls throughout their four-month pregnancy.
Yet Compassion's recent investigation shows that the plight of many of Europe's fattening pigs is still desperate, with animals often kept in conditions of utter deprivation, despite European law designed to prevent routine mutilation and barren conditions.
In The Guardian article, MPP's Chief Executive, Martin Barker, is quoted as saying,
"We started from the standpoint that we wanted to be at the forefront of animal welfare and we consulted welfare groups like Compassion in World Farming before coming up with innovations."
Compassion has spoken with the proposers of both the Foston pig farm and the Nocton mega-dairy. Compassion has urged MPP to commit to any new development being on a higher welfare basis: at least meeting RSPCA Freedom Food standards and EU laws prohibiting routine tail-docking.
Compassion understands that those behind the Foston proposal are considering meeting higher welfare standards, in particular aiming for RSPCA Freedom Food standards. Nevertheless, the sheer scale of the project remains deeply concerning.
As with the mega-dairy, Compassion will pursue this relentlessly as part of our campaign to protect animal welfare and stop pig factory farms.
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.