EUROPE's largest campaigning vegetarian organisation has launched a call for mass objection against plans for the UK's largest dairy farm in south Lincolnshire.
Viva!, who have worked for 15 years to abolish factory farming say the proposals - which would see 8,100 cows imprisoned in sheds covering 22 acres in Nocton Heath - set the scene for an animal welfare and environmental disaster.
The group's founder & director, Juliet Gellatley, said the organisation, who have over 35,000 supporters, would be doing everything in its power to ensure the development by Nocton Dairies be thrown out by North Kesteven District Council planners.
She says: "Cows incarcerated within normal size dairy herds, of around 120 animals, already suffer extreme pain, distress and discomfort on the average UK dairy farm.
"But 8,100 dairy cows being imprisoned in these dark sheds for the majority of their lives " you can only imagine how these problems would be multiplied, it would be an animal welfare disaster " the equivalent of battery farming cows.
"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.
"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. I 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.
"Viva! will be writing to counsellors to urge them to take a step back from this catastrophic proposal and see it for the animal welfare and environmental disaster that it is."
For more information about Viva!s Dark Side of Dairy campaign, visit http://www.milkmyths.org.uk/ or call 0117 944 1000.