County Antrim ranked fourth highest for numbers of animals in factory farms, according to new survey
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A new investigation commissioned by Compassion in World Farming reveals an increase in the numbers of livestock permanently housed indoors or without access to pasture. The full picture of all the UK factory farm data has been pulled together into an interactive map, launched this week (13 February).
The map shows ‘hotspot’ counties where large numbers of dairy cows, laying hens, broiler chickens and pigs are permanently housed indoors or without access to pasture, as well as overall numbers of confined livestock per region.
County Antrim ranks fourth with a staggering 20,316,870 animals confined across the county. In eighth place is Tyrone with 8,854,700. Lincolnshire ranks first with 35,797,299 followed by Shropshire with 27,289,085 confined animals. Norfolk ranks third with 25,748,309 and Herefordshire, is fifth place with 19,087,727. North Yorkshire, Suffolk, County Tyrone, Nottinghamshire and Powys also make the top ten.
Anthony Field, Head of Compassion in World Farming’s UK Office said: “Factory farms and the animals they confine are often hidden from public view but as the data shows, are rife in County Antrim. This investigation shines a spotlight on their rising numbers, clearly illustrating the desperate, broken, and unsustainable food system we have created.
“Enough is enough. The spread of industrial farming must stop. This intensive method of producing food must be revised in line with the UK Government-commissioned National Food Strategy, with farmers given help to transition to a more sustainable land use.
“Factory farms blight local communities who complain of the pervasive stench, noise and biodiversity loss. And rivers are polluted due to excess manure and agricultural run-off. Local government is on the front line in granting planning permission for new units but unfortunately, they are often not aware that animal welfare and climate change issues can be a material consideration in every planning decision.
“We urge the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to strengthen the law and issue guidance for local government to urgently clear this matter up.”
Compassion is calling on the public to contact the Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to strengthen the law to take it beyond doubt that animal welfare and climate change can be material considerations in every single planning decision. This will ensure that, where communities are overwhelmed by factory farms, local authorities can reject planning applications for even more of them.