Pig farm protest to be staged at council building

The protest will be held at Mossley Mill.
The protest will be held at Mossley Mill.

Residents opposed to the development of an existing pig farm in Ballyclare are set to hold a protest outside Mossley Mill tonight.

Elected members are due to discuss a motion about the Calhame Road facility at tonight’s Planning Committee meeting at Mossley Mill.

Detailing the proposal ahead of the meeting, a spokesperson for Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council said: “This will include the proposed demolition of existing pig farm (six units housing 4,200 finishing pigs) and replacement with three new pig units (to house 2,755 sows, 235 replacement breeders and five boars) with air scrubber units, associated underground slurry and washings stores, scrubber water storage tank, seven feed bins, welfare facilities, feed kitchen/store, concrete hardstanding and two turning areas, loading bay, landscaped bund, tree and shrub planting, parking and new access.”

In the agenda, the recommendation is to grant planning approval for the item.

The spokesperson for the local authority stated twenty three neighbouring properties were notified and thirty-one letters of objection have been received from eighteen properties/addresses.

People opposed to the pig farm are set to hold a protest at the council’s Carnmoney Road North offices before the Planning Committee meeting commences.

A spokesperson for the Stop the Newtownabbey Pig Factories group said: “We would like to thank in advance everyone who is coming to support our peaceful protest tonight from 6pm. We want the planners and statutory authorities to get the message that we love our environment and want to keep it clean and pleasant to live in, to rear families in, and to work in.

“We hope all our supporters, families and friends enjoy the experience of objecting to this pig factory farm in Newtownabbey.”

Voicing support for the peaceful demonstration, a spokesperson for Friends of the Earth said: “On Monday night Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council will be holding its planning meeting. Unfortunately there will be a recommendation to approve a massive pig factory on Calhame Road.

“We believe the report to be an inaccurate representation of the detrimental impacts of what this factory will impose on its neighbours, on human health and the environment.

“The application to be approved will be for a pig breeding unit with 2,700 sows, to produce roughly 80,000 piglets per year.

“When all the other factories are up and running it will work out at approximately 150,000 pigs per year, and the human population of this area is about 62,000, so people will be outnumbered by more than two to one.”

The spokesperson added: “We would love your support in person any time from 5pm onwards on Monday, February 18 at Mossley Mill, just across from Mossley West train halt. We will have some pig masks for people to wear – if you want to.

“We need people to come and show their support for this group who have worked tirelessly to stop this factory. We need to show our politicians that we do not want this kind of farming practice here in Northern Ireland.”