I really hope this does not happen in the UK. Instead of reducing our meat intake the farmers say what we need is much bigger farms housing tens of thousands more animals than we do now citing examples from the USA and Saudi Arabia where they have super farms. We need to make choices based on sustainability and higher welfare in farming NOT greed and money!
"An independent report by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (Post) found that much larger farms than those in Britain could be "both good and bad" for animal welfare and the environment, arguing that they could "potentially" improve conditions for animals and the protection of the environment." - I don't believe super farms will improve animal welfare or sustainability but can any of the Americans here confirm my suspicions about super farms.
That's bad news.
The good news is that it seems the first proposed mega farm in Lincolnshire was stopped through a combination of opposition from locals concerned about pollution and animal welfare campaigners. The online petition group 38 degrees were also actively involved: http://blog.38degrees.org.uk/2011/02/22/mega-dairy-stopped/
The Guardian also state that CiWF are concerned about these moves to much greater intensification in animal farming in the UK. Their current anti-factory farming campaign RAW includes their full comment to the Guardian: http://www.raw.info/latest/are-super-farms-good-for-the-environment-we-say-no
I wonder if a distinct campaign to oppose these mega farms is in order?
If sufficient public awareness is raised as well as animal advocacy groups there's going to be NIMBY campaign groups sprouting up to oppose any proposed farms near to them, the UK is only a small place compared the the USA, such farms couldn't be so successfully ceated without effecting local people. Also, considering the success of some prior campaigns maybe a celebrity chef or two might become interested in working alongside such groups.
I think there's still a chance that plans for these mega farms could be derailed. I don't think they would be popular with the public. Though in these times of 'austerity' measures, supporters will argue for the positive effect cheaper meat will have on the houshold purse which might win the argument for many.
I'll check out who else is discussing this and see what actions are being proposed. I think it's quite a big deal as the introduction of such farming methods would represent a seriously retrogressive step in terms of animal welfare in the UK and any initiatives in such a direction needs to be nipped in the bud ASAP. Thanks for posting - this was as issue which I wasn't previously aware of.
Happily, despite initial progress, plans for the proposed mega dairy in Powys have been called in for review by the Welsh Minister, so nothing is certain as yet:
"In a letter to the Powys local planning authority the Welsh Environment Department set out the Minister’s concerns.‘There is insufficient information … to show that all the relevant policy considerations have been fully addressed by Powys County Council’s planning committee.’The Minister concluded that ‘the planning application appears to conflict with national planning policies relating to pollution control and conserving the historic environment, and that it raises issues of more than local importance.’"
Likewise, the proposed Derbyshire mega pig farm has yet to receive necessary planning application from the council:
"make your voice heard officially by registering your opposition to the planners on theDerbyshire County Council website. The decision has been delayed and there is still time to object to the planning application"
Not in My Cuppa, WSPA campaign against the introduction of US style 'mega dairies' in the UK
"Britain’s dairy industry is at a crossroads. Under pressure to take cows out of fields and put them into US-style mega dairies or factory farms, we are about to see our countryside, environment and milk forever changed. You can help stop this by taking a few seconds to add your name to the campaign."
Say "not in my cuppa" now
CiWF campaign Cows Belong in Fields
Soil Association's Not in My Banger campaign to stop the introduction of huge pig factories in the UK:
"Help us campaign against a dramatic escalation of industrial pig farming in the UK. If we don’t act now, thousands of pigs in the future could be kept in massive factories - changing British farming forever."
The sky is purple and things are right every day