Councillors urged to refuse pig farm

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National animal rights group Animal Aid is urging councillors to refuse permission for a controversial pig farm in Newtownabbey.

A decision on whether the plans can go ahead is expected to be taken at a meeting on 22 November. If approved, the new farm could rear up to 17,000 pigs. Campaigners say they would be deprived of the opportunity to carry out many of their natural behaviours, and are likely to become bored, stressed and frustrated.

Animal Aid say the plans have generated a public outcry.

The council received more than 800 objections when the application was advertised in the local press, and petitions opposing the farm have gained more than 250,000 signatures.

The plans had originally proposed rearing up to 30,000 pigs, but these were reduced in size following a high level of public opposition.

Says Animal Aid Director, Isobel Hutchinson: “Approving this industrial pig unit would set a dangerous precedent for the intensification of UK farming.

“And if these scaled-back plans are given the green light, it will be much easier to gain permission for the original 30,000-pig unit in the future.

‘The suffering that these thousands of animals would undergo is truly abhorrent. But we believe that there are many other compelling reasons why councillors should refuse permission.

“These include an increase in traffic to the point that Rea Hill Road would have to be widened, and intruding on the countryside with industrial-scale agricultural buildings.

“Chunks of the landscape would even have to be carved out to make the surface level enough for building on.”