Factory dairy farm challenged in court
WSPA challenge Welsh Minister’s decision to build factory dairy farm
This article was written when we were called the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA). Find out about our name change
At the end of last year, the Welsh Planning Minister, Carl Sergeant, approved plans to build a 1000-cow factory dairy farm in a small village in Wales. The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) launched a petition against factory dairy farming and filed a legal challenge seeking clarity about how the Minister had arrived at this shocking decision.
The challenge was upheld under the Town and Country Planning Act at the start of this year. WSPA also filed for a protective cost order to limit the potential costs for both sides in the hearing, which was recently granted by the judge presiding over the case.
WSPA has obtained extensive evidence that shows factory dairy farms can result in a higher risk of poor welfare as well as having the potential to become a blight on communities located nearby.
Taking the issue to Court
On World Environment Day 2014, both the Minister and WSPA will meet in Welshpool, Powys; the town nearest to the small village where the factory dairy farm will be built.
WSPA argue that the approval calls into question the Welsh Government’s commitment to promoting sustainable development.
Simon Pope, WSPA UK Director of Campaigns and Communications said: "Our case challenges the decision-making process behind this application and the implications we believe it holds for the future of dairy farming, not just in Wales, but throughout Britain. We know there is significant opposition both to this particular application and more generally to this dairy intensification trend. This battle is not and never has been about one farmer. We believe that people should be allowed more of a say both in how their food is produced and the potentially harmful consequences of factory farming. As such, WSPA considers our actions to be in the public interest. We believe factory dairy farms will be bad for cows, dairy farmers, consumers and local communities where these farms are built."
What impact could this have?
Throughout the two-week Public Inquiry in the proposed plans to build the farm, WSPA emphasised the extra strain put on ever more hard working, overburdened, exhausted dairy cows by intensive production systems.
WSPA also highlighted wider threats posed by factory dairy farms to rural communities, highlighting that building a factory dairy farm right next door to a primary school and local village hall would put some of the most vulnerable members of the community at risk of lifelong health problems, such as asthma and other respiratory illnesses.
Simon Pope adds, “The approval of this factory dairy was a dark day for Wales and for many Welsh dairy farmers, since not least the Inspector felt on balance that this application was contrary to the Welsh Assembly’s own policies on development. WSPA hopes by following the legal process and challenging the Minister’s decision, we shall obtain greater clarity about decision making in the planning process, both for this case and for similar applications that may ensue in the future."
What else has WSPA done to stop factory dairy farming?
- WSPA has held briefings in the Houses of Parliament and the Welsh Assembly to update politicians on concerns around factory dairy farming and how they can help prevent them
- WSPA has gathered evidence from experts in the UK and America to support their campaign to keep cows on pasture, ever since our campaign began in 2010
- WSPA has been working to support the local opposition group Campaign Against Lower Leighton Farm expansion (CALFe) for nearly two years.