There were angry scenes at a Co Antrim council meeting after a contentious application for a pig farm was given the go ahead.
The application for a pig farm which could accommodate up to 30,000 animals had been turned down initially but approval was given to a smaller scale operation at Hall Farm.
The planning committee of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council passed the pig farm by a majority vote with nine councillors voting in favour of the application and just two against. They were DUP councillor Thomas Hogg and Alderman John Smyth of the same party.
The council chamber was filled as the vote was taken, with more objectors and supporters gathered outside.
When news of the vote filtered outside the chamber there were angry scenes with some of the objectors confronting those who’d backed the plan.
In the car park afterwards several of the objectors blocked supporters’ cars as they tried to leave the car park.
Prior to the meeting a UK-wide animal rights group called on councillors to refuse planning permission for the controversial pig farm.
Animal Aid claimed up to 17,000 pigs could be reared in “cramped conditions”.
Director Isobel Hutchinson said: “Approving this industrial pig unit would set a dangerous precedent for the intensification of UK farming. 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. We believe there are many other compelling reasons why councillors should refuse permission. These include an increase in traffic to the point that Reahill 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.”