Important dairy campaign developments

03 February 2014

Last chance to sign our e-petition to stop industrial dairy farm as WSPA calls for court hearing.

This article was written when we were called the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA). Find out about our name change

Despite significant public opposition, in October 2013, the Welsh Government approved plans to build a 1,000-cow dairy farm in a small village in Wales.

The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) condemned the decision, which was taken despite evidence given at the Inquiry into the impact the farm would have on the environment and on animal welfare. It also went against county and national level expert planning advice.

In response, WSPA launched a petition that urged the Government to reconsider planning legislation.

Over 8,000 of you have now signed, and with the petition closing on the 7 February, we are asking all of you that haven’t to take action now and join us in condemning the plans to build a large scale factory dairy.

 

What else is WSPA doing?

When we announced that plans had been approved last year, we received many concerned letters, calls and emails from our supporters asking whether we could take further action. During a period of consultation, we looked into our legal options and thoroughly investigated the Planning Inspector’s report.

WSPA believes that if we allow this industrial dairy to go ahead it could potentially change Welsh farming and the countryside forever as others follow suit. We have now decided to challenge the Welsh Planning Minister’s decision in the form of a Judicial Review.

That an application to build a factory dairy of this size next door to a primary school in the heart of a tiny village, demonstrates that the planning process is in urgent need of revision.

The animal charity believes that applications like this should be subject to tighter planning restrictions and fall under industrial business applications. Although we are yet to confirm the date it is likely that it will take place in April or May at the High Court in London.

How does the Judicial Review work?

This legal challenge is calling for a review of the decision-making process, it is not targeted at the farmer as an individual.

The decision to pursue this form of action has not been taken lightly, however a legal decision has been made which we – as animal welfare experts – believe could threaten dairy cow welfare so we must pursue this through the legal system.

Simon Pope, WSPA UK Director for 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 in how their food is produced and the impacts of factory farming. Farmers should continue to be championed as the custodians of our natural environment. As such, WSPA considers our actions to be in the public interest."

We hope to minimise the costs involved in the legal process as part of our commitment to ensuring that we invest our supporters’ contributions wisely and to have most impact for animal welfare around the world.

We have applied for a Cost Protection Order, which will limit the amount of money WSPA will be accountable for especially if we were to be unsuccessful with the case. We hope to be successful in this application, but if we are not we will have to consider how we proceed.

We will keep you updated with developments and thank all of you for your on-going support during this process.

"We believe that people should be allowed more of a say in how their food is produced and the impacts of factory farming. Farmers should continue to be championed as the custodians of our natural environment."

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