Our Not in My Banger campaign was launched to oppose the large-scale pig farm proposed in Foston, Derbyshire – an indoor pig factory for 2,500 mother pigs (sows) and around 20,000 piglets – with 1,000 pigs going for slaughter each week. The campaign has been fighting to get the planning proposal for the pig factory turned down – instead the campaign calls for all pigs to have the right to live part of their lives in the open air, not to be subject to mutilation and for sows to be able to make a nest in which to give birth.
It is believed that with 25,000 pigs, this would have been the largest indoor pig factory in the UK. If given permission, this factory farm could have been the start of a dramatic escalation of industrial farming in the UK – the future could be pigs, and other livestock, kept in massive factories, changing British farming forever.
In a dramatic victory for the many thousands of Soil Association supporters and others who objected to the plans, Midland Pig Producers withdrew their application for the pig farm on 17 March 2015.
This followed a refusal by the Environment Agency to issue an Environmental Permit on the grounds of odour and the impact this would have on local residents.
Peter Melchett, Soil Association policy director, said: “Everyone concerned about the future direction of British farming, and anyone who feels we should not go down the American route of ever larger, indoor factories holding tens or even hundreds of thousands of animals for their whole lives, will be delighted that this pig development has been defeated. Along with the collapse of the proposal to build an all-indoor dairy farm for 12,000 cows at Nocton in Lincolnshire a few years ago, this suggests that those in the farming industry and government who think food production must inevitably copy the American model of vast, indoor animal factories are wrong.”
Thank you to all who signed our latest letter to Derbyshire County Council
An impressive 7,985 of you let the Council know that we don’t want thousands of pigs to be forced to spend their entire lives indoors – in a proposal that, if it had been allowed, would have heralded a new era of US styled factory farming in the UK. We submitted the letter to Derbyshire County Council after Midland Pig Producers resubmitted an adjusted planning application for their proposed large-scale pig factory.
Summary of evidence
We have compiled scientific evidence from around the world which suggests that raising pigs on this scale could risk having a serious impact on human health - as well as on the welfare of pigs. We previously submitted objections to the proposal on the grounds that the extremely high number of pigs housed in one location may increase the level of disease on the holding – over time this may pose a threat to the local community at the very least. The recent adjustments to the planning proposal, made by Midland Pig Producers, did not change our original objections and we submitted a renewed objection to this effect.
You can read our last submission to the planning consultation 2014 here. [PDF, 593 KB]
Below is a summary of the key point of our evidence, for more information please read our briefing on Mega pig farms and their potential impact on human health.
- pig farming accounts for approximately 60% of all UK farm antibiotic use
- research shows that the levels of disease and the use of antibiotics both increase as pig farms get bigger
- larger herd size is linked with higher levels of many diseases in pigs, including some that can cause illness in people
- for certain bacteria, such as salmonella and campylobacter, most of the antibiotic resistance in human infections comes from farm-animal antibiotic use
- resistance to antibiotics can transfer between both animals and humans and this occurs more frequently, and with far greater ease, than was previously believed
- a number of very serious new types of antibiotic resistance have developed in recent years and several of these are increasing in farm animals
- C. difficile ‘superbug’ bacteria which has been found in hospitals is a growing problem in pigs worldwide, and the latest research shows that at least one strain of the pathogen is now present in British pigs
- there is growing evidence that C. difficile may be spreading from pig farms to humans through the environment
- there is concern about the risk of Pig MRSA spreading to the UK; it is now well established that people working with MRSA positive pigs, such as farmers, veterinarians, and even their family members, are at risk of colonisation and infection - there have also been a number of very serious cases and deaths
- there are real concerns that unless antibiotics are used much more sparingly we will soon find ourselves facing a range of serious diseases in humans and animals that can no longer be treated effectively.