Petition against pig farm gathers momentum

More than 137,000 people have signed a petition in Northern Ireland opposing plans for a giant pig farm in Mossley. Co Antrim. 

The Hall family, who are the applicants for the Reahill Road plans, are looking to expand their existing Old Carrick Road-based pig farm business.

The original application presented to Antrim and Newtontownabbey Borough Council on 12 March, 2015 has asked for an “agri-food site for the rearing of pigs”.

The proposed pig farm will include four pig sheds, one mill building, an office building, two anaerobic digester tanks, a silo bay, a digestate lagoon and an attenuation lagoon and ancillary works.

However, local residents have been opposed to the plan for the 14ha site claiming it will house 30,000 pigs and be a “mega pig farm”. They have also raised concern about issues such as pollution, smells and animal welfare.

The ‘Stop the biggest ever UK pig factory being built - Say NO to 30,000 pigs behind bars’ petition, started by animal rights campaigner Polly Folley now has nearly 140,000 signatures.

The owners are reported to have stated on their website: “Our existing farm is on the Old Carrick Road in Monkstown. The buildings are old, and we do not have the space to renovate the existing site and remain in business.

“Our aim is to develop a new site on the Reahill Road, off the Carntall Road, in Newtownabbey. This new proposed farm will be providing improvements both for the animals and for our environment.

“If the new farm is approved, we then plan to renovate the existing site to provide better welfare for our animals and reduce the number of pigs housed here by 85%, which will significantly reduce odour, and will allow us to renovate so we can continue to improve the welfare of our pigs.

“The welfare of our animals is of the utmost importance to us. We believe in improving the welfare of our animals. This site will be one of the highest-welfare units in Europe.”

However, objections to the plans have been strong. Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council have said that due to the “significant volume of representations it will not be able to respond and will be unable to make them available on public access”.

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