Nocton Dairy is at it again with “new” plans—but that’s just to get in the door. The goal is the same as ever, inhumane treatment of cattle to produce inferior milk in assembly-line production style.
NOTE: This reprises an old article, updating the outcome. The people won! Unfortunately, though, Agribusiness is now coming at the issue through another insidious method: a direct attack on the farmers.
Nocton Dairies is trying again to gain approval for a factory dairy farm in Lincolnshire, England. As reported in Humane Claims of Plan for Huge UK Dairy Factory Farm Don’t Add Up, they tried to gain approval for 8,100 cows to be held under inhumane conditions, to live virtually their entire lives without seeing the sun, just like American-style agribusiness dairies. You know—those wanton wreckages that are home to E. coli as a disease and produce sick milk full of pus.
After a public outcry from citizens local to the proposed factory farm, Nocton Dairies withdrew the first application—but they’re back with virtually the same attempt, this time specifying about half the number of cattle. That would be bad enough, as it would involve still overcrowding and cattle treated as commodities, rather than the living creatures that they are. However, the plan includes bringing the number back up to the same 8,100 head of the original “withdrawn” plan.
Apparently, Nocton thinks we’re all stupid. Let’s show them that we aren’t. Since 689 out of 697 public written comments didn’t convince Nocton that their idea of factory milk production isn’t wanted in the UK, let’s give them a bigger message. Please, go to Let’s Stop Factory Farms(1) and sign the petition addressed to Tony McArdle, Chief Executive of Lincolnshire County Council, and all the councillors in Lincolnshire. Send them a message:
This is not how we want cows treated.
We do not want our milk adulterated.
This is not the England that we, the people, want to inhabit.
Cheap food comes at an enormous cost. It costs, quite literally, the world. It costs our health. It costs our humanity. And it costs the animals that we depend upon lifetimes of misery and agony.
The result of factory farming benefits no one but the profiteer-owners. It releases new and virulent diseases into the world, diseases that destroy and end lives. The facilities pollute the environment and damage the health of people living within several miles of them. The concentration of their effluent kills the life in rivers and the oceans they pour into. The food lacks nutritionally, and the taste…well, most people in the industrialized world today have no idea how real food tastes.
According to Julie Jowit of The Guardian, “Conservative MP and environmental campaigner Zac Goldsmith has called the proposals ‘squalid’ and warned the project would “take farming to a new low”.
Peter Willes, one of the two directors of Nocton Dairies, infamously stated, “Cows do not belong in fields,” in his attempts to convince us that they belong on factory farms where they can be treated as machines. He has gone on BBC radio to say, rather dishonestly, that the new plan is for fewer cows and that they would be allowed outside. Of course, he didn’t bother to mention that the intent is to ramp up to as many as originally intended once they’re in operation, and that the time outside would not be forage time that allows cows to live and behave like cows—that they would be on barren ground and crowded into small areas. In fact, their documentation admits that the cows will not likely have any interest in going outside into areas where they won’t be able to graze.
Julie Jowit’s excellent article, A tale of two herds, points out that Pat Thomas, who directs the anti-Nocton campaign of Cows Belong in Fields, states, “When you breed into cows this propensity for high yields you also breed in metabolic problems, and a tendency for mastitis, lameness and infertility, and also early death.”
Even before his attempts to start a megadairy along the lines of American dairy agribusiness, director Willes had already demonstrated his lack of concern for the environment and disregard for laws limiting antibiotics in cattle.
In 2008, Willes was fined more than £9,000 after waste from his farm polluted a stream and killed fish. In 2005, he was ordered to pay £4,000 pounds and was given a 12 month conditional discharge for four separate charges of having illegal antibiotics that he’d obtained from the Republic of Ireland. One must ask if unhealthy cattle in unhealthy operations were the reason he needed exotic antibiotics.
At the very least, Willes’ past pollution and antibiotics violations leave little room to trust any claims he now makes about his agribusiness scheme’s safety for the environment, safety of milk, or quality of the lives of cows under his management.
38 Degrees’ petition states:
Please don’t let plans for ‘mega-dairies’ go ahead in Lincolnshire.
These farms would make a big contribution to climate change and undermine more responsible, sustainable cattle farms in Lincolnshire and the rest of the UK.
Keeping cows inside almost all year is cruel and there is evidence that cows kept in factory farms suffer as a result.
Please do all you can to stop these mega-dairy style farms being built in Lincolnshire.
For these reasons and more—for humane treatment of cattle, for the public’s protection against pollution, for production of healthy milk from healthy cows, for maintenance of our own humanity—please, sign the Let’s Stop Factory Farms petition!