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Integrated design of pig farm will be a vast improvement

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LOCAL people are kicking up a stink about the proposal to use pig poo to supply a power unit for Foston Hall prison.

South Derbyshire District Council has received more than 2,000 objections to Midland Pig’s planning application which involves “substantial waste management” with the protestors particularly worried about smells, noise and animal welfare.

A spokesman from animal welfare group Viva said “Could any farm that big satisfy the welfare of the animals?” The answer to that is yes, if the applicant has done his homework properly.

According to an article in Pig World, July, 2008, the company were in discussion with “Compassion in World Farming” regarding the design of their Stafford unit, so it is highly probable that this large unit, will be a vast improvement on some of the smaller units, scattered through the area.

Ideally, all pigs should be reared organically with access to the outdoors, but because most people are not willing to pay the proper price for quality pork, factory farming will prevail.

The integrated design of this unit incorporating anaerobic digestion, will allow the producer to compete against unregulated foreign imports.

As for the smell, there shouldn’t be any in a properly designed system which pipes the waste directly to the biogas plant.

We believe that local schemes such as this are both logical and environmentally sustainable, and to our way of thinking, far more acceptable than the highly-polluting glorified incinerators which masquerade as “waste-to-energy” systems.

Fred Hopwood,

Transition Uttoxeter

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  • All of those who think that a new pig farm at Foston is a good idea please notice that Midland Pig Producers proposals are full of uncertainties. Take just three examples ‘...... probably chopped straw mixed with feed, to each pen in the shed’, ‘the potential elimination of tail docking’ (tail docking, if done routinely, is an illegal practice) and ‘a scheme is being trialled with the specific purpose of including locally grown beans to mix into the pigs diet’ . As Midland Pig Producers propose to use bare slats for most of the floor space and wean piglets at only 3-4 weeks they will need to use preventative antibiotics routinely to keep the pigs alive in a cocktail of gasses from the biodegrading faeces under the slats. The result of routine antibiotic use will be antibiotic resistant bacteria diseases that can pass to humans. This, the WHO says is a, ‘serious concern given the alarming emergence in humans of bacteria, which have acquired, through this use, resistance to antimicrobials.’ The antibiotic bacteria will inevitably spread from the farm, and or its workers. Those particularly at risk are the neighbours, in this case the confined, unconsulted inmates of Foston Prison whose windows and yards are directly adjacent to and downwind of the site. We have already lost half our pigs to unfair, low welfare competition of cheap imports flooding every market from mega farms. We are now being told our farms must consolidate to compete. Yet, most of our pork needs could be met by small scale independent farmers from outdoor or deep straw pigs that seldom use antibiotics and where their waste is a valuable fertiliser to grow their own feed. So, instead of scaling up to compete with cheaper imports from mega farms, we must protect our farmers by taking food out of the free trade treaties and ensure self sufficiency in EU pig production. We must regulate the market through the Common Agriculture Policy, to ensure EU farmers get a fair price at the farm gate, that there is a limited quota of pigs produced in the EU to satisfy consumer demand without the excess that we presently dump on third countries below their cost of production. Instead of importing feed from third countries like Brazil and Argentina, we must remunerate farmers that grow their own grain and protein feed. Similarly we should have tariffs to prevent cheap meat coming into the EU below the cost of production. If given permission to build mega farm at Foston we will only accelerate this race to the bottom for UK smaller scale farms who, in an economy of scale, will be unable to compete. Instead let’s unite with the 350 NGOs across the EU that are lobbying for Common Agricultural Policy reforms that promote local production for local consumption from small and medium sized independent farms.

  • Not a very balanced story - Obviously does not mention the uncontrolled methane that will be generated by the site, the huge amount of waste that will be imported into the site by road (additional to the pig waste) and the risk of antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria such as MRSA (CC398 is a new clone of MRSA that has emerged in animals and is found in intensively reared production animals (primarily pigs, but also cattle and poultry). MRSA can be transmitted to humans, particularly in close proximity to intensively reared animals. The prison inmates at Foston could be particularly at risk.