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QC steps in to defend Foston Pigs

Monday 01 August 2011

One of the country’s most influential lawyers has stepped into the debate over whether or not a controversial mega-farm should be built in close proximity to a prison in Foston, Derbyshire. Queen’s Counsel Michael Mansfield has registered his objection to the plans on the grounds of animal welfare.

Michael Mansfield QC, who previously worked on inquests into Bloody Sunday and the deaths of Princess Diana and Stephen Lawrence, wrote to Derbyshire County Council last week registering his objection to plans for a 2,500 sow pig farm, which have also been slammed by the Environment Agency and various animal welfare charities in a high-profile campaign against Midlands.

Although Midlands Pig Producers, the group behind the plans, has attempted to offer assurances that animal welfare at the proposed mega-farm would be of the highest quality, a high-profile campaign has nevertheless raised questions over the viability of its assurances.

The Times reported Mansfield, who claims to have made it his career "to seek justice for those who have been denied their rights," as saying, “To allow the Foston pig farm to go forward would mean a life sentence of hellish confinement for tens of thousands of animals.” He also said the proposals went against nature and that the pigs, who would be kept indoors all-year round, would be caused great stress and potentially driven insane.

Derbyshire County council, who is responsible for granting or rejecting planning permission, has received over 12,000 comments on the proposals, the majority of which, it says, have been objections. Having been delayed due to the weight of objections surrounding the proposals, a decision is now expected from Derbyshire County Council in the autumn.

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