Animal rights activists have submitted an 18,000 signature petition against plans for a poultry shed on Anglesey that would house up to 32,000 free range birds.
Described by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) as a “chicken prison,” the development at Cae Mawr, Llannerch-y-Medd, would cover over 3,200 square metres if given the green light, with the building standing on existing farmland.
The application was submitted in March and it’s expected that the authority’s planning committee will make a decision over the coming months.
The applicants say it would create two jobs as well as consolidate the diversification of the farm, with the proposed building being 68.6 metres long with a 10 metre wide egg room.
But PETA has urged councillors to oppose the plans, having submitted an 18,295 signatory petition to Anglesey Council over the weekend.
“Thousands of compassionate people have spoken, and Isle of Anglesey County Council should heed their concerns for animal welfare, the environment, and the health of the community,” said PETA Director Elisa Allen.
“PETA is calling for this plan to be scrapped, sparing thousands of birds a lifetime of suffering and an agonising death.”
While intended to be run by the applicants and their family, it’s expected that another two members of staff would be required to assist with the packaging of eggs, with a promise that this employment would be sourced locally.
The applicants also referred to RSPCA welfare standards in their application.
“The enterprise has been fully investigated by the business … they are more than confident that the free-range unit can be a success and supplement the current farm profits.” notes the design and access statement accompanying the application.
“The birds shall have access to roam the land lying to the east and west of the proposed building, which shall be dedicated pasture for the enterprise.
“The land will be fenced using electric fencing to keep predators out. Birds will be inspected at least once a day.
“The birds are Free Range and have an opportunity each day to exit the building and roam the designated ranging ground.
“The birds will exit the building using pop holes which are included in the design of the building.”
But responding to reassurances that the chickens would be free to roam, Peta claim that even on such farms, they are often prevented from engaging in these natural forms of behaviour.
A spokesperson added, “When their worn-out bodies can no longer produce enough eggs to be profitable, they’re sent to slaughter, typically to be turned into ‘low-grade’ meat.
Describing factory farming as “a living hell for animals”, they claim that it also creates a “perfect breeding grounds for infectious diseases.”
“When animals are crammed together on crowded, faeces-ridden farms, transported in filthy lorries, and slaughtered on killing floors soaked with blood, urine, and other bodily fluids, deadly pathogens emerge and can spread from animals to humans.
“Taking into account the negative impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on our society, it’s imperative that intensive factory farms such as this one are no longer built in the UK.”
The applicants have been approached to respond to PETA’s comments.
Plans for a similar development at Llanegryn, also holding 32,000 birds, was approved by the Snowdonia National Park Authority last year despite local concerns over potential dust and odour.
But such is the concern over the number of such applications in Powys, rural campaign groups have been called for a moratorium on chicken farm schemes.
In June ten organisations, including the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales, wrote an open letter to the council claiming that Powys was seen as the “poultry capital” of Wales, with 29 applications in the pipeline.