OVER 100 MPs from across the party spectrum have united to oppose plans to house more than 8,100 cows in a mass dairy farm in Lincoln.
An Early Day Motion raised by Eric Martlew, Labour MP for Carlisle, has been signed by 128 of his colleagues, including Clare Short, Frank Dobson, Frank Field, Glenda Jackson and Charles Kennedy.
Opposition has been mounting over the last month to the application from consortium Nocton Dairies, since animal group Viva! launched a national campaign against the proposal in February.
Mr Martlew says: "I am very pleased that the EDM has been signed by 100 MPs from all parties. I think the proposal for the dairy farm is a huge threat to animal welfare as it will operate as an intensive system with over 8,000 cows kept indoors for the majority of their lives.
"This is unnatural confinement and leads to the suffering of farm animals when many supermarkets have been trying to improve the production standards of food they offer customers.
"Problems which arise from intensive dairy farming include high levels of lameness, poor body condition, infertility and short lifespan. I will be writing to the major supermarket chains asking them not to use milk or dairy products produced in such a cruel manner."
Planning authority North Kesteven Council, who are accepting comments on the application until April 9, have been inundated with hundreds of objections from members of the public and organisations including Viva!, the Soil Association and the Environment Agency.
Viva! founder and director, Juliet Gellatley, says: "It is fantastic that so many MPs from all parties have joined together in objection to this horrendous application for what would be nothing short of a prison for dairy cows. I hope many more MPs, organisations and members of the public who have any concern for animals or the countryside will join our campaign to stop the plans for this dairy going any further."
Viva!'s Facebook group Oppose the UK's Biggest Factory Farm, now has over 3,500 members.
For more information on this campaign, call Viva! on 0117 944 1000 or visit www.viva.org.uk.
Notes to Editors
View a selection of major press coverage on this issue.
View the planning application.
Visit Viva!'s Oppose the UK's biggest Factory Farm group on Facebook.
Viva!'s statement against plans for the UK's largest dairy farm in south Lincolnshire
Dairy cows are the hardest worked of all farmed animals, suffering from excruciating mastitis, lameness, infertility and exhaustion from being continually impregnated to keep their milk yields flowing. Many of today's dairy cows are already too big for the indoor cubicles they inhabit, finding it difficult to lie down.
8,100 dairy cows imprisoned in dark sheds for the majority of their lives would multiply these problems, it would be an animal welfare disaster; the equivalent of battery farming cows.
This 'specialist unit' would be 'specialist' in nothing but inflicting an unprecedented amount of agony on thousands of animals at a time. Factory farming animals on this scale will guarantee nothing but a massive rise in levels of disease, infection and injury.
It is beyond belief this company claim the highest of animal welfare standards would be observed - with plans for just 80 staff and one vet to oversee a herd of such grotesque proportions.
Applicants say methane emissions from the animals would be reduced by feeding a special 'locally' produced diet - without, Viva! claim, taking into account the extra emissions which would be produced by the production, processing and transportation of the 250,000 litres of milk the plant would output daily.
It has been scientifically proven time and time again that the meat and dairy industry is responsible for the greatest proportion of all greenhouse gas emissions. Viva! sincerely hope planners aren't fooled into thinking such an immense industrial development would do anything but add to C02 emissions.
Local governments should be welcoming proposals which encourage a move away from meat and dairy consumption - and instead examine projects to reinvigorate land to grow crops to feed people directly, which is the most sustainable way forward.