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article imageProposed mega dairy causes controversry

By Lynn Curwin     Jan 14, 2011 in World
Nocton - A proposed mega dairy in the UK, where cattle would rarely have the chance to get outside or exercise, has come under criticism from many people.
Nocton Dairies hopes to construct a factory farm where they will keep 3,700 cows (although there are reports they hope to eventually increase this to 8,100) at Nocton Heath, Lincolnshire.
There are concerns about animal welfare, health, environmental impact and the effects such a large operation will have on farmers.
“It threatens animal welfare and the countryside, will put hard-pressed family farms under even more pressure, and will undermine the integrity of our milk,” said Philip Lymbery, Chief Executive of Compassion in World Farming. “The proposal remains unwanted, unnecessary and unwelcome. The bottom line is that cows belong in fields not in industrial dairies.”
Cattle which are rarely able to get outside to graze are at a higher risk of lameness and infections and lose their body condition.
The organisation states that the proposed facility is more than 30 times larger than any existing dairy currently operating in the UK.
Nocton Dairies submitted an application to North Kesteven District Council in December 2009 to erect a facility where they would keep more than 8,000 animals.
This resulted in many objections by local residents, politicians and animal welfare organisations.
The application was temporarily withdrawn but a plan they brought forth in November 2010 called for 3,770 cows as a starting number.
The council has received approximately 11,600 official objections to the mega farm.
“This kind of farming is an ugly corporate monster of extreme greed at the expense of yet another intelligent sociable animal,” said veterinarian Marc Abraham on the Compassion in World Farming website.
Some of the environmental issues which concern people are the emissions such as methane and ammonia, slurry, and the risk to the local water aquifer- which runs directly beneath the proposed site.
The World Society for the Protection of Animals reported that their research shows that cows kept in factory farms are likely to suffer lameness, mastitis (a painful infection of the udder) and an increase in diseases.
"If the mega-farm is allowed to go ahead, it will open the floodgates to other such proposals," states the WSPA website. "It will be only a matter of time before Britain’s already struggling small dairy farms simply disappear."
Celebrities such as Bill Oddie, William Roache, Joanna Lumley, Chrissie Hynde and Jo Brand
A campaign group called 38 Degrees delivered a petition with more than 72,000 signatures on it to council, which is expected to make a decision in March, the Guardian reports.
A spokesman for Nocton Dairies said there has been misinformation and scaremongering from those opposing the plan.
"It is this that has driven so many people to sign petitions without even taking a single look at the facts in the application," the Lincolnshire Echo quoted him as saying.
Food & Water Europe has formally objected to the renewed plan, saying the application fails to account for how the local aquifer can accommodate the dairy's needs and how to deal with such high waste levels.
"Water from the local aquifer is already fully committed supplying homes and farms, and local farmers have withdrawn consent to spread waste on their land, so we can’t see how this is going to work," said Food & Water Watch Director Wenonah Hauter. "And that’s before we even talk about the impact on the local community.”
The organisation said that annual waste production from the full herd would exceed that of any city in the UK except London.
There have been cases in the U.S. where untreated waste has seeped into groundwater and town water supplies.
Food & Water Watch has prepared a 20-page objection to the proposed facility.
Compassion in World Farming has a Facebook page called Stop a factory farm development happening in Nocton Lincolnshire and the WSPA has one called Not in My Cuppa.
More about Farms, Oddie, Dairy, Nocton
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