Ban US-style factory farms in the UK

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A public outcry has brought attention to plans for a huge, 40,000 pig factory farm near Limavady, in the picturesque landscape of Lough Foyle. We are calling on David Small (Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency) for an immediate ban on the building of factory farms! Please sign the petition today.

If the Limavady pig factory is built, at any one time, up to 40,000 pigs would be confined indoors in overcrowded, barren concrete pens. Antibiotics are commonly overused in factory farms just to keep the pigs alive in such terrible conditions. These pens become a breeding ground for antibiotic resistant bacteria that can pass from pigs to humans. Neighbours will have to suffer the stench of 66,000 tonnes of faeces (in the form of liquid slurry) being spread on surrounding fields every year - close to houses, schools and public footpaths.

There has been an alarming 26% rise in intensive US-style factory farms in the UK since 2011 - whilst simultaneously the number of smaller, high welfare farms has drastically declined . In Northern Ireland alone, permissions are currently being sought for 14 further pig factories, so stopping the Limavady proposal would potentially close the sluice gate to further applications.

This spike in pig farm applications was caused by inflated subsidies for Anaerobic Digesters, which generate electricity from pig waste. The waste slurry from this process still contains high levels of ammonia which cause respiratory problems in humans and pollutes sensitive natural habitats. According to the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, 98% of ‘Special Areas of Conservation’ have already exceeded the critical threshold for ammonia at which ecological damage occurs. All UK taxpayers will have to pay the cost if Northern Ireland is fined for breaking the ‘Nitrogen Directive’.

James Orr, director of Friends of the Earth Northern Ireland, says: “Northern Ireland is already plagued by shocking levels of ammonia emissions. Releasing further ammonia from pig slurry into Northern Ireland’s ecosystems will lead to environmental disaster. Intensive agriculture and the associated problems with a massive increase in pig slurry cannot be the path to a healthy future for Northern Ireland.”

Tracy Worcester, director of Farms Not Factories, says: “Manure from pigs kept at lower densities in a more natural environment is an invaluable fertiliser, not a toxic pollutant. We can use the power of our purse to only buy from real farms, not animal factories. When buying pork, look for the high welfare labels Outdoor Bred, RSPCA Assured, Free Range or, best of all, Organic. Find out how to boycott pork from factory farms by reading at our Guide to Labels & Supermarkets.”