Planning permission to build two 80 metre industrial sheds that would house 4,000 pigs has been rejected for the second time due to Viva!’s successful campaigning.
In 2017, a local farmer in Durham Country applied to expand his farm across the idyllic countryside that has become a cornerstone of British culture. The rolling hills and picturesque villages that has been the setting for police crime drama series George Gently would become the prison for thousands of pigs destined for slaughter.
After Viva! heard about this, alarm bells were ringing immediately. We have investigated countless industrial-sized pigs farms and found routine animal cruelty time and time again. Overcrowding, routine-tail docking, filthy conditions and even cannibalism are often found inside UK pig farms – and we were not about to sit back and let this new horror farm materialise without a fight.
Even more worryingly, the company involved in this farm, G&M Westgarth has been charged with over 15 offences under the Animal Welfare Act, and according to The Darlington and Stockton Times was due to appear in court for failing to provide 1,600 pigs with a suitable diet, housing and protection from pain and suffering. Something had to be done.
Alongside local residents, consultees and three Labour County Councillors, we submitted an objection to Durham County Council and the application for the extension was withdrawn in March 2018.
However, in June 2018 the extension application was resubmitted, this time to house 2,000 pigs. We wasted no time in rallying support from our loyal supporters and launched an immediate campaign opposing the proposal. Now, in October 2019, the application has been withdrawn again for the second – and hopefully final – time.
Lex Rigby, Campaigns Manager, said: “The public are waking up to the threat factory farming poses to us all. Whatever measures they take, planners cannot totally eliminate the risk of pollution or disease spreading to the local area.
“These are intensive sheds, which have only one aim: to get pigs from birth to slaughter as quickly as possible. We are absolutely delighted that the application has been withdrawn and are thankful for the additional lives that have been spared as a result. ”